[Moderated by Matt Jones]
By now you’ve had a few mint juleps in you, and you have your favorite hat on. You’re ready to cheer on your favorite at Churchill Downs to hopefully make some big bucks. But how did you chose the horse you bet on? There are many different strategies you can use to pick the winner, all of which are probably not condusive to winning. But hey, it’s horse racing, where nothing is ever a sure thing. I’m gonna go through my favorite ways to pick a horse, which of course are all successful.
This is a great way to pick your horse. Go through the list, and see what name stands out to you. I’m a huge believer in gut decisions, and what better way to go with your gut than to pick it this way. You can go for the weird names that make no sense but have cool background stories, the names that make you say “awww”, or of course the sexy names.
This is the way that most of my female compadres (it’s Cinco de Mayo too guys) pick their horses. With no prior knowledge of horse racing or betting or…anything. They usually pick the horse with the cutest color schemes and designs. While this may not be the most foolproof way of horse betting, I have seen a few fashion savvy chicks get lucky.
I know a few people that oftentimes argue that the jockey is more important than the horse he’s riding on. Being a jockey requires a lot of strategy like ”riding the rail” and “taking the outside”, whatever all that means. It’s usually a sure thing that some jockeys like Borel, and all the guys that end in -eaux or -ez will somehow end up doing well in the Run for the Roses.
This is obviously the most mathematically savvy way to pick a horse. The lower the odds, the more likely the horse is to win it. Some people realize they have no chance to win, so they pick horses with crazy odds just for the chance of an amazing pay out after it’s all said and done. Some people will take winning a total of $5 for picking the favorite, so they lean that way. It’s all about personal preference.
Being from the horse capitol of the world, I know a few people that have personal connections to different local farms, horse training companies, and horse trainers that are being represented in the Derby. Obviously, if connections like these exist you would be more inclined to bet on that horse, cause you might even get paid in the victory!
I use a combination of these strategies to pick my winner. First, I go through the list and eliminate all the horses that weren’t bred in Kentucky. When I was a kid, my grandmother never let me bet on a horse that wasn’t from Kentucky, and to honor her I never will. Next, I look at the odds. I like to pick a horse that isn’t the sure favorite, but obviously isn’t a 50-1 long shot either. I usually pick a horse from somewhere between 9-1 or 15-1 odds. Next, I look at the name and the colors. Being color blind…this is obviously a challenge for me but I get help from friends. I like names that are unique, but not too dumb. It’s a fine line. I also like to look at the jockeys. There’s always a few names I recognize and lean towards choosing like Calvin Borel, Julien Leparoux, and Kent Desormeaux. With this combination of choices…my pick for the 2012 Kentucky Derby is…..Union Rags. Bring home the bacon for me baby!
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