by Ron Gurfein
The steady downpour at Churchill Downs Saturday did nothing to dispel the 157,813 fans from enjoying the sights and sounds of the 144th Kentucky Derby. The track itself however was downgraded to good after the 7th race and then to sloppy after the 8th. Kenny Rice had the quote of the day, “Welcome to the equine Woodstock.”
It’s just minutes to post and the track is a quagmire much as was the ground at the most famous festival of all time where 500,000 waded through the mud at Max Yasgur’s farm.
In the midst of what I thought was a very mediocre and repetitive production came a very interesting breath of fresh air in a short piece by Ashley Judd a native Kentuckian imploring the viewer to come to see the Derby in person. I found it really appealing and quite clever.
The usually exciting procession from the barn area to the saddling ring was greatly hampered by the mud and rain, however two of the more intelligent horsemen Baffert and Lucas opted to miss the messy march.
Justify romped and justified my handicapping job for another year.
It was more than amazing as he went :22.45 to the quarter and half and just kept on rolling and was hand ridden from the eighth pole to the wire.
Definitely another Triple Crown candidate for Baffert. American Pharoah to me struggled more to the wire than Justify.
All and all it makes for a fun five weeks and then after the Belmont we look to the Hambletonian. Good Magic and Audible went well to finish second and third, respectively.
Hope you all had a wonderful Derby Day and if you listened to me and bet on the winner, be careful in the Preakness because this may have been beginner’s luck.