The Derby countdown is on
Updated: May 5, 2012, 3:14 AM ETBy Jay Cronley | Special to ESPN.com
Here's what's on some minds during the Derby countdown.Question: How do you get tickets to the Kentucky Derby? Answer: You wrap your firstborn in the state flag of Kentucky and take the child to the booth marked "Collateral." The offspring will be placed in a nursery and can be redeemed within 30 days for the price of two scalped clubhouse mezzanine seats, or about $4,200. Or so it seems. Whereas loyalty is thought to be a staple of the near- or semi-south, it doesn't always apply to longtime ticket buyers. To guarantee a Derby seat, you have to procure a Personal Seat License. In other words, pay up extra. For gamblers there's a seat lottery. Forty-buck infield seats are already being scalped for around $50. As is the case with most successful enterprises, old-friend ticket holders can be squeezed right along with newcomers. The emptier the joint during the rest of the year, the harder the seats are to come by during prime time. Cheesy motel rooms charge like the Beverly Wilshire. Nothing turns tradition into a corporate cocktail party like big bucks. Q: Are slot machines hurting horse racing? A: What doesn't easy money threaten? But it's not a problem that defies solution. Here's a simple answer: Tell the track veterinarians that if you let a hurt horse run, you're through. Q: How would the canceled HBO series "Luck" have ended? A: Three animals were in the picture: Dustin Hoffman's horse, Nick Nolte's horse and the horse belonging to the deranged gamblers. "Luck" was into freaks as art. The writer/director used metaphor like a Louisville Slugger. The pick here is that grizzled veteran Nick Nolte's horse would have won the last race, then the trainer would have dropped dead in the winner's circle of a complicated heart. Q: How can you tell a bad picker from a good picker? A: After giving the public a string of doggy losers, a bad picker will come back and say, "I'm still alive in the pick three." Bad pickers give out the Patriots over the Giants, then say, "But I hit the opening coin-flip-proposition bet." Bad pickers seem to win the most in private. Q: You seem to do very well at the Breeders' Cup, but not so hot at the Derby. How come? A: October might have been a better time for that question. Here's the problem everybody experiences with the Derby: too much talk. Creative Cause lost an eyeball on the flight in. No, check that, it was only a shoe. Alpha has been poisoned; no wait, it's only a rash. Hansen looks dazed. El Padrino looks confused. Even the reliable ask-an-idiot angle loses steam, as idiots are everywhere during Derby week, selling deep closers. Every wise guy on earth will tout Bodemeister. Why? He has the highest speed number. That way, when you lose you will have lots of company, and there will be fewer to find fault with the pick. Listen kids, Creative Cause already beat Bodemeister. If you want the favorite that figures to have the lead for a long ways after Trinniberg stops for oxygen, step right up. Because of my futures-pool bets that have numerous decent animals covered at better odds than will be on the tote Saturday, I have to bet two out of fear and fear alone, Bodemeister and Dullahan. Mercifully, these two appear to be the kind that will either win or blend in with the background scenery, so I have to bet them to win only, then toss them. The post position draw is Wednesday at 5 p.m. Eastern. I'll list some picks here after that. As if handicappers didn't have enough to compute, with a dozen horses having a legitimate chance to win, here's another item worth a frown: Nearly insane heat could infiltrate. The Weather Channel's advance look says that it could be 90 degrees in Louisville on Saturday. Think there might be a dress code violation or two in the infield? Write to Jay at email@example.com.
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