Friday, April 27, 2012

The Derby Tree

One of my earliest Derby memories as a child was my Dad telling me the story about the Derby Tree. In 1961, he played Decidedly in the Winter Book for the following years’ Derby. (So I guess the Future Wager has been around for a long time.) Not sure how it was done back then, but I know my Dad didn’t jump on a plane and go to Vegas.

My best guess is-it involved a bookie.

The reason why he played the grey colt by the Derby winning sire, Determine, was supposedly something he heard, when having breakfast next to trainer Horatio Luro, the summer before on the Saratoga apron. What he heard and whether Mr. Luro was touting his two year olds, is anybody’s guess.

My father did like to tell a track story or two.

But whatever he heard, it prompted him to place a good wager on the colt.
He won a bundle on that Derby 50 years ago. One of the things he did with his winnings was to buy and plant a flowering tree that would be in bloom on Derby Day. It’s the first tree that bloomed in his yard each and every year, even before the Dogwoods. It has withstood a lot, and has seen better days, but it still blooms 10 days out, and heralds the coming of the most exciting two minutes in sports.

You can read about Decidedly’s record breaking Derby and also about how his jock picked up the mount, at the Kentucky Virtual Library. Partnered with Keeneland and the DRF, there are 3000 volumes of the Daily Racing Forms archived there.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A "First-Saturday-in-May" Horse

Yes, I have been absent from blogging. Life, stuff, Twitter has gotten in the way of my posting. And still in birthday mode too. Me and Ruffian. It’s cool to celebrate your birthday with a famous filly.

I’m trying to focus in on the Lexington tomorrow.

But wait…did you know that this Blog’s Derby favorite, Union Rags worked a half over the poly at Keeneland this morning and galloped out in a minute? Just what you want to see 14 days out from the Big Day. Watch him work.

And while we’re at it, the movie star-handsome son of Dixie Union is indeed a movie star. An American Love Story, is very well-done and not to be missed. Take a Look

Sorry, coming down with a little Derby Fever.

Back to the Lexington. A mile and 1/16th on the poly, and really there are only two horses in here, that, should either win, could make it into the Derby field. One is Castaway, and the other is Morgan’s Guerilla .And while both maybe dreamin’ Derby, this is a tough race and a wide open affair.

Blog Favorite News Pending has chased some good ones. The son of Harlan’s Holiday is trying synthetic for the first time. If you can dismiss his Florida Derby, then he could run a big one.

Another colt by HH, is Holiday Promise. His lone start on poly was a good second in the Spiral. The Pletcher trained colt could move forward again.

Gold Megillah, by Purim (loved him) ran a bang-up second to the ultra game Flashy Dresser. Could be right there.

Summer Front is an undefeated colt (on turf) and going to poly for the first time. Connections think highly of him.

Longshot Joannesbourbon might be worth a look in the postparade. It’s a tall task after just breaking his maiden but he may be worth adding to a super. He is working lights out over the track and should love the stretch out.

Two Saturdays to the Run for the Roses. Is there a better time of year for racing fans?