Derby wagering for the fun of it

There are two types of bettors in the world: those who take it seriously and those who bet on occasion for the fun of it.

By now, serious gamblers know just as much about the horses expected to run in the Kentucky Derby as anyone else involved in the sport. Past performances and pedigrees have been examined from every angle and the only thing left to do is finalize decisions.

For the casual race fan, though, the Derby can be an impossibly daunting task. With 20 horses to pick from, sometimes it is easier to go with your instincts. If the past several runnings of the Run for the Roses have taught us anything, it is that anything can happen. Just ask the connections of Mine That Bird or Giacomo.

So, for anyone who is still trying to find their Derby horse, below is a list of less than scientific reasons to bet one horse over another.

Derby destiny: For those of you who play the name game, it is hard to overlook the fact trainer Mike Maker will be saddling two appropriately named horses in Derby Kitten and Twinspired. There is no doubt what their respective owners were hoping for when they were named. You have to respect the optimism.

Derby glass rights: Although not every Derby winner has been blessed with a regal name, it is one of the tests for weeding out the pretenders from the contenders. What would look good on the traditional Derby glass is totally subjective, but I offer up Master of Hounds and Midnight Interlude as the best named horses in the field.

Black Beauty fans: For anyone who grew up loving Anna Sewell's "Black Beauty," be sure to check out Archarcharch. True, he is technically registered as a dark bay/brown horse and the markings aren't quite right, but he might just strike a cord nonetheless.

Pedigree buffs: This spring it was announced that A.P. Indy has been retired from stallion duty. Although the Hall of Famer did little wrong during his racing and breeding careers, he is yet to sire a Derby winner. None of his offspring have been entered this year, but he has four grandsons looking to wear the roses: Dialed In, Nehro, Pants on Fire and Stay Thirsty.

Ladies' night: No fillies are entered in this year's Derby but that doesn't mean the ladies can't represent. Trainer Kathleen O'Connell sends out Watch Me Go, Katherine Ritvo will saddle Much Macho Man, and jockey Rosie Napravnik will be aboard Pants on Fire.

Kid in all of us: For everyone who still has to think wed-nes-day in their heads when trying to spell Wednesday, I offer up Comma to the Top. One of his owners has a daughter who had trouble saying apostrophe, and comma to the top became slang for the word.

Borel, baby: Considering jockey Calvin Borel has ridden three of the past four Kentucky Derby winners, there is little doubt his mount this year, Twice the Appeal, might merit a second look.

Fans of Barbaro: On the fifth anniversary of ill-fated Barbaro's Kentucky Derby victory, another son of Dynaformer is entered in the race. Brilliant Speed became a Grade 1 winner when he took the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.

Three Stooges devotees: Although Uncle Mo's name has nothing to do with the comedic trio, imagine the possible names of his future offspring. Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk, anyone?

Animal lovers: For those who are interested in horse racing because you love animals, perhaps Animal Kingdom is the Derby horse for you. After all, his sire is Leroidesanimaux, which translates to king of the animals.

Military men: Soldat is out of the young sire War Front and his name is French for soldier. Anyone with military ties may want to take a second look at this fellow.

Tricky track: Santiva has won only once in six lifetime starts, but it came in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill, his only start over the famed course to date. It is well documented that some horses hate the track, but then again, some love it. Perhaps he is a horse for a very specific course.

Wiseguy horse: There are several horses that will not be sent off as the favorite but have drawn attention to themselves during their time at Churchill Downs. Leading the pack is Shackleford.

Just for fun: Last but not least, it wouldn't be appropriate to do a "just for fun" betting column without mentioning Decisive Moment. After all, he runs as a homebred for Ruben Sierra's Just for Fun Stable.

Amanda Duckworth is a freelance journalist who lives in Lexington, Ky. Write to her at amanda.duckworth@ymail.com