New rule instituted last year: I can write about horses, and I can read about horses, and I can ride them and love them and feed them oats. But I cannot give people advice on how to bet on them during the Triple Crown season. Last year, I gave a good friend of mine my opinion about how he should bet in the Kentucky Derby. I forget what I told him (I’ve since blocked it from my mind), but I know that at the end of the race, he sent me a text that read “To the moon, Alice.” Fortunately for me, our friendship has survived this great unpleasantness.
Having said that, The New York Times ran a story today about Kentucky Derby favorite California Chrome. It’s the kind of story that makes me start thinking about Seabiscuit and I’ll Have Another, and equine glory on the Santa Anita track. It’s the kind of story I’d point the aforementioned friend to, if I were still in the business of giving betting advice this time of year. But because I’m out of that racket, I’ll just say here’s an interesting story about a plucky pony with the potential to be the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. That’s all I’m saying. I promise.
Speaking of I’ll Have Another, The Vancouver Sun says his former jockey Mario Gutierrez is still looking for a great horse. Word is, he might have found it in Dancingtothestars, which won the Valentine’s Stakes at Santa Anita racetrack.
And, in The Sacramento Bee, trainers debate the value of a pre-Derby workout on the Churchill Downs track.
Finally, The Washington Post looks at the widespread use of painkillers and performance-enhancing drugs in racehorses.
Addendum, posted on May 2, 2014 at 1:49 CST: The aforementioned friend in this Derby betting anecdote called my attention to a scene that wound up on the cutting room floor. It goes like this: