Friday, February 8, 2008

I'm Going, Going Back, Back to Cali, Cali Derby, Derby...

Last year I did not travel to the Derby for the first time since 1998. I was hoping to go this year, but after running the numbers of all my vacations later this year {1 week in New England, 2 weeks in South America, 1 week in Arizona, and a long weekend in ATL}, and the fact that flights were frustratingly expensive, I ruled out Derby 134 about 2 weeks ago. Sucks, but hopefully next year.

So last night for shits & giggles I looked at airfare again, and lo and behold I found one that was much, much more affordable, so so I said "fuck it!" and booked it on the spot before I could change my mind.

So I am in for Derby 134, one of the coolest events there is and always a fun time. Solon and Tasso are already in, as well as our hosts Brain and The Hit. We also have our friend RJ losing his Derby virginity this year, and a few others may come through as well.

This will be my 10th Derby, a nice milestone as well.

Since first attending back in 1997, I am batting .400 on betting the winner, going 4 for 10 {had to work and totally missed 1998, and last year had the winner in an online account even though I didn't attend}. That is really good winning percentage, so the odds are that I shouldn't have another Derby winner for several years, but I guarantee I'll be trying my ass off to find the winner again this year.

Suffice to say I am jacked, because I had already written the possibility off. To celebrate I am reliving my 4 Derby winners.

1997: Silver Charm, 6-1

My first Derby, and we all got stuck in 35 degree weather in the infield with shorts and t shirts. Amidst all the standard flashing of tits in the 3rd turn, a beautiful bare ass was flashed right in front of my face, and I thought it might be a special day. $10 to win on Silver Charm, who was I think 3rd or 4th choice, and we managed to get over to the finish line on the infield and see him come home first in a super exciting finish. What a great first Derby- I was hooked.

2003: Funny Cide, 12-1

Empire Maker was damn near even money as a massive favorite, so I passed and eventually settled on Funny Cide, who seemed to offer the best value and maybe a chance to win at 12-1. It was sweet to get my 2nd winner, but I didn't cash in too large because I cast a wider net than usual with my variety of bets.

2004: Smarty Jones, 4-1

This was the first time that I really believed in and invested emotionally full-on in a horse. I was telling anyone who would listen that this horse was simply a freak who was going to do something special, and I actually believed it. This was by biggest and best win to date: I had $20 across the board on Smarty, and I also nailed the $1 trifecta for $486 with a partial wheel that successfully snagged Smarty Jones/Lion Heart/Imperialism. I think I layed $169 and cashed out $712. Euphoria followed by a round of juleps for all my mates. Still bitter that Stewart Elliott fucked up in the Belmont and blew Smary Jones' triple crown and shot at immortality, but this Derby was super special and I will always love Smarty- I would love to visit him one day.

2007: Street Sense, 9-5

I hate betting the favorite, but after analyzing the form over and over, this was the best horse by miles and I had to bet him because I didn't see anyone else beating him besides Curlin, who I didn't believe was quite ready. I had $10 across the board on him. One of the most amazing moves through traffic I have ever seen- having money on a horse and having him 19th place with 1/2 a mile to go, only to have him come back and win was a pretty exhilarating experience, and although I wasn't there, I was screaming at the top of my lungs in my apartment as they came down the stretch to the point that I think many of my neighbors were probably freaked out.

So 4 for 10 and 3 of the last 5- I can't wait to touch down in Louisville for an epic Derby 134 weekend. Added bonus is that my going should spur me to write a bit more about horse racing on the road to the Derby this year than I did last year.


The Hit said...

2 words: It's on!

Brain said...

I am looking forward to your arrival. Let's get it goin!