“Oh I’m gonna mess this up, this is just my luck.  Over and over and over again.  I’m sorry for everything for everything I’ve done.  From the second that I was born it seems I”ve had a loaded gun.  Then I shot, shot, shot a hole through everything I loved.  Oh I shot, shot, shot a hole through every single thing that I love”–Dan Reynolds


How I Handicap the Derby; mostly by the names

Last year I picked my first Derby winner!  And I did it by handicapping based on names, personal geographic preferences and stuff like that.  Here’s that story https://jasonbeem.com/2014/05/02/kentucky-derby-preview/

So I thought I’d do the same this year.  So here is the only analysis you’ll need, straight from the mind of the weirdest handicapper around.  Going in order of Derby points.

International Star–So he’s not really International as he was born in NY, but he did win a race in Canada, and we all know how international a city that is 90 miles from Buffalo is.  I can’t decide if the image of Ken Ramsey with a smile two feet wide leading in his horse to the Derby winner’s circle is a positive or negative, so I’ll pass for now.

Dortmund–He’s named after a soccer team which is reason enough to completely toss him.  Soccer = Socialism.  And racing is all about capitalism.

Carpe Diem–If I have to read another “Seize the Day” pun about this horse I might puke.  I told my friend Travis Stone if he says “Seizes the Derby” if this horse wins then i’m unfriending him on Facebook.  But he’s trained by the Toddster who is uber dreamy, so he deserves a look.

American Pharoah–I personally like the name spelled wrong.  It’s like Quentin Tarantino spelling Inglourious Basterds with both words spelled wrong just because he it added some artistic cache.  And when I think artist I think Ahmed Zayat. Anyone who can orchestrate 137k twitter followers when nobody else in the sport has more than 30k is an artist.  The Chalk and should be.

Frosted–Every year I chuck the Wood Memorial winner and/or participants so he’s out.  Honestly the only thing I associate the word frosted with is “frosted tips” like boybands had for hairdos, another reason to toss.

Nobody should root for frosted tips

Nobody should root for frosted tips

Mubtaahij–My number one angle for handicapping Dubai races over the years has been pick horses whose names end in B,Q, or J.  This guy meets that criteria and if you love weiner puns you’ll love trainer Mike de Kock.  A must use!

Materiality–I believe in the curse of Apollo.  Look at all the bad things that have happened to ‘Apollos’.  Apollo Creed was killed by a juiced up Russian.  Apollo 13, blew the hell up in outer space.  Apollo Ohno, had that horrific soul patch.  The curse is real!

Apollo Creed, killed by a Russian.  #CurseOfApollo

Apollo Creed, killed by a Russian. #CurseOfApollo

El Kabeir--New York prep horse, toss him.  El Kabeir is actually spanish for ‘The Kabeir”

Upstart–I kind of don’t have anything funny to say about his name, well cause it kinda sucks for a horse name.  So he’s out.

Far Right–Now I don’t consider myself a very political person, but I know that the Far Right are embraced in Kentucky.  I mean he’s home, he’s around his people.  However the Derby can attract a very diverse crowd, which they don’t like, so i’m thinking he’ll be too annoyed to perform well.

Itsaknockout–Beaten by 21 lengths is a bit of a turn off. But the biggest fight of the last decade is Derby night so maybe there’s a hunch play there?  That being said, Mayweather isn’t a knockout guy and he’ll likely just beat Pacquio on points.  So no knockout.

Firing Line–Firing Lines are making a comeback.  Utah just last month remade it available to get killed that way.  What’s old is new again.  Give this guy a shot! #Heyooooo

Danzig Moon--I know Danzig is a good breeding line, but to me that name will always be synonymous with the man below.  And he rules.  So this horse gets a look from me.

War Story–This horse will be an underlay because Loooooch will buy $800,000 worth of tickets on the horse and say he’s going to give them all out to his twitter followers.  Then he’ll try and challenge Ken Ramsey to a bet and Ramsey’s horse will beat him again.  Autotoss on principle.

Tencendur–This horse sounds like the name of weird hybrid horse/cat from a nerd movie like Lord of the Rings or something.  “Quick, someone tell Tencendur that we’ve come upon the Molnink Village and we have to find Smingledore”  Nerds.

Stanford–I went to U of Washington so I would chuck any horse named after a Pac 12 school not named Huskies.  Well maybe Wazzu.

Mr. Z--I tend to root against any horse named after it’s owner.  That’s almost worse than naming your kid your name with a Jr.  What kind of ego does it take to saddle your kid with your name and all that comes with it?  Good lord let them carve their own niche you megalomaniac.  Ok, back to Mr. Z.  He’s not gonna win.

Ocho Ocho Ocho–Why would you bet a horse whose name tells you not once, not twice, but three times where he’s gonna finish.  8th.

Bolo–To me this sounds like the name of a Vegas night club geared towards country folks.  I don’t like clubs and a Bolo is a terrible fashion accessory.  Toss

Keen Ice–This sounds like a 1950’s desert from the neighborhood soda fountain.  “Hey Mr. Roberts, can I have one of those Keen Ice’s.”  “You betcha Billy, that’ll be five cents!’  “Gee thanks Mr. Roberts, this Ice sure is Keen!”

Frammento–I had a venti sized Frammento just the other day at Starbucks and it gave me a panic attack so I just can’t endorse this horse.

Emerald Downs is coming!

Just a couple of weeks until one of my favorite places on earth starts racing for the summer.  Emerald Downs in Auburn, Washington doesn’t get the national play as some ‘bigger’ tracks, but it’s a remarkably special place.  Emerald Downs had the burden of trying to replace Longacres which closed in 1992 and it was a nearly impossible task.  But as the track with the big green roof gets ready to kick off it’s 20th season I wanted to share some memories of why I love the place so much.

Beautiful Mt. Rainier in the back drop.

Beautiful Mt. Rainier in the back drop.

Emerald is home.  I remember going there opening season in 1996 with my dad and buddies from my baseball team. I was 16 at the time.  Over the past 19 seasons, I’ve continued to go with those same friends.  Once we turned 18 (I swear we never bet before we turned 18 🙂  We would go all the time, me and my buddies.  When my dad’s cancer was in it’s final stages, that was where I took him, oxygen tank in tow.  We went there Friday, Saturday and Sunday that third week in July, and he died on a Tuesday.  He lost $80 his last day at the track.  Emerald Downs is where I got my first job in racing.  I was hired to work as a turf writer and media assistant, making 10 bucks an hour and had more fun than anyone should have at a job.  I got to hang out up on the roof with guys named Victor the Predictor and Ol’ Gar and Uncle Steve.  I got to meet Robert Geller who was the track’s announcer.  I’m obviously a big fan of announcers since I am one and Robert is always at the top of my list.  He’s beyond good and his calls of so many of the races there are so memorable.  A personal favorite will always be when his voice cracked when Kid Katabatic hit the line first in the Longacres Mile.  He hates that call but I love it!

Speaking of the Mile, i’ve watched a number of them there.  My favorite is 2005 cause 50/1 No Giveaway won and I hit the trifecta for $4,900.  The whole crowd was stunned and me and my friend trainer Ben Root high fived and I screamed my head off.  I blew back $800 that night at the card room but that’s another story.  I got to call some races there.  My dad is buried on the hill above Emerald Downs and before each race I always would look up there and smile and hope he was somewhere listening.

I got to do a book signing at Emerald Downs this past year and share my book Southbound with a bunch of race fans and talk to them about the story.  I owned my first horses there, Bay Wide Total and Eduardo, neither of whom won.

I got to meet some amazing friends there.  People like Darrin Paul and his family who i’ve become great friends with.  People like Dave Martin, who became a mentor of mine and was one of the sweetest men i’ve ever known.  He passed away a few years ago and I still think of him when I go there.

Emerald Downs is about family.  And friends.  And fun.  And for me in my 20’s, losing a whole bucket of money.  But I still love the place.  Can’t wait til racing starts!