Top 10 reasons picking Derby winners is easy

Here are 10 reasons why it's easy to pick the winner of the Kentucky Derby.

1. The trainers are so sharing of vital information.



Just like Gary Cooper at a quarter of noon.

Reading trainer tells provides essential insight. If a trainer talks too much, he has something; quiet probably means pass.

2. There are only seven kinds of racing surfaces that forward competition to the Derby: dirt (fast or slow), mud, grass (good or not so good), and artificial dirt (sometimes responds like turf or sometimes doesn't respond like turf).

Horse racing has not exactly gone green, what with some of the best tracks having made the move to materials shaken from a can, surfaces not exactly kissed by Mother Nature.

If it rains a couple or three inches Derby morning, horses fresh from the circuit where the rubber meets the hoof are apt to get stuck (see dismal performances in the Breeder's Cup soup at Monmouth last fall).

And, at least nobody is coming from that odd racing surface at Dubai where they run on crushed up money.

3. There are only 20 post positions.

Look carefully.

There's easily room for one more gate on the outside end, possibly two.

Derby post position anxiety is such that horses on and near the rail are compared to surfers about to be swamped by the collapse of a 50-foot pipeline.

4. Expert picks.

Who even needs a Form.

We're not talking about plain old writers, here, tip-sheet scribblers who claim that there's a winner every time (and most times it's the tip sheet seller), we're talking about authors, an author being a plain old writer with a great editor; we're talking about people who are at the track on a regular basis and must know certain things based on attendance if nothing else.

While around this subject, ever hear of the Beyer numbers?

The highest Beyer number isn't enough?

5. There are only three running styles.




6. What handicapping mistakes?

Remember all those times you loved with all your heart that dramatic and blazing speed from the prep race? Remember when you bet $435 on that speed, thinking that nobody could ever, in a million years or two minutes, run him down? Remember the rush you got from that double-deep closer in the Florida prep race? Remember how you couldn't wait to see him do the same thing at Churchill the first Saturday afternoon in May? Remember all those favorites you couldn't get enough of?

I didn't think so.

7. There are only 10 track conditions.





Lightning fast.

Slow inside.



Slow outside.


8. Triple Crown jockeys seldom make mistakes.

9. Filthy rich owners always want what's best for the horse.

10. We only have to bet a little to win a lot.

Take this, Derby: After the posts are drawn, only a dozen horses could win. After figuring the running styles, only half that dozen could win, we're down to six. One of them suffers bad luck, just five could win. After miscellaneous miscalculations, we're down to three horses for the victory.

Facetious or on the money?

Or a little of both?

Write to Jay at jaycronley@yahoo.com.