Time for my annual Kentucky Derby pick. Friends will recall their massive payouts during my four-year winning streak from 2001-2004. It began when my buddy Ralph the barber gave me a tip in 2001. I alone sauntered up to the betting window in Waukegan at the world’s sketchiest OTB (and that’s saying something) to collect on 20-1 Monarchos.
Things went quiet in my prognosticating abilities for a while (oh please, like it hasn’t happened to you) but resurfaced in 2013 with Orb. Ralph the barber, I think of you often, elderly now and living it up in Florida, hopefully blowing your retirement at Hialeah.
This 2015 field is deep and strong. I don’t often pick the favorite, but this year I have to go with the incomparable American Pharoah. I’m worried about his post position (#18), but I guess if it doesn’t bother Bob Baffert, it shouldn’t bother me. This video (shared with me by my pal, racing writer Ed DeRosa) is of a recent workout. Watch him blow by that other horse early on and give it another gear in the stretch. Watch how motionless the jockey is. He doesn’t urge him on, doesn’t even show him the whip; his hands are still as ice. The Pharoah is doing this all on his own. There’s a reason why racing analysts say he wins with “condescending ease.” Good golly goddamn, he’s something special.