I seem to have lost my crystal ball. Either that, or I never got the memo for which fortune teller everyone is visiting this time of year. You see, so many people are compiling their Kentucky Derby favorite lists that I’m sitting here wondering what I’ve missed. Has everyone forgotten that we’re talking horse racing? And Derby hopefuls can flip faster than a Twitter mob?
No? Just me? Ok, cool.
I understand that, with so many of us gripped in the clutches of this frigid and never ending winter where it’s literally so cold that it is dangerous to breathe, it’s easy to dream of warmer days and the pollen filled air that will, inevitably, drive me indoors once again because I still can’t breathe (and I like my hermit lifestyle…why do you think I’m a writer?!) The Kentucky Derby brings the first sweet scents of spring…and we’re all itching for spring.
But, I digress, back the Derby trail and the weeks that will drag on slower than the last trimester of my pregnancy; and, just like said pregnancy, we will all remain hopeful about the prize that awaits us at the end and try to keep it close in mind when we’re up for the eight millionth time to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. (Can you tell I’m sick of being pregnant?!) Also, just like the swift kicks to my bladder that bring me a strange reassurance everything is moving along a-okay, just as it should, there are some things we can be sure of as we trudge towards our goal, things I do not need a crystal ball to predict.
So, I bring to you, my five fool-proof predictions for the 2019 Kentucky Derby. These you can bet on today–I guarantee it.
The Baffert Phenom
There will be at least one horse from Bob Baffert’s barn in the Derby. You’re welcome.
The International Hopeful
We will all condescendingly comment on how cute it is that these foreign horses are coming over to compete on US soil, against US horses, because in reality we have no idea what their chance at success may be. Let’s be real, most of us don’t follow international racing close enough to have any real clue. Just me? Cool.
I don’t know about you, but I do this because I will always remember Thunder Snow and Derby 2017. Lest we forget.
The Bath Photos
The soft, early morning rays just peeking through the night sky… the wet coats that glisten like otter skin… the steam that dances and twirls as it rises in the air… the bubbles…oh, the bubbles.
It’s a scene that reads like those fantasy novels you find in a gas station where the main character is some long blonde-haired god named “Fabio” and–just like those fantasy novels–we can’t get enough. Bring on the bath photos! (And someone, anyone, please name a horse “Fabio” just to complete this fantasy for me. Thanks.)
The Long Shot
We all need a horse to swoon over. Whether it’s his missing eye, his big bold blaze or sky high chrome, or the way he so valiantly screams to alert all that he’s arrived at the track…there’s always one. That one poor soul that really has little to no chance of taking home the Derby title, but we root for him just the same. Maybe it’s pity, maybe it’s our deep desire for a hero, or maybe we just see a little part of ourselves in him. Either way, we will find him, lift him up in our discourse of his fabricated potential to win, join together in a cacophony of “aw”s when he finishes near the back of the pack and then, for the most part, forget about him. Thank you, Long Shot, for the most important role you play in keeping hope alive. One day–just one day–I hope a one eyed, splay footed, goof of a horse (preferably named “Fabio”,) actually does take home the title.
Everyone is an expert
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I did not know there were so many esteemed, prestigious, (backseat) experts in our industry. We know ‘em, we love ‘em, and Derby time is when they shine the brightest. Everyone and their dog becomes a specialist on fractions, confirmation, pedigree, statistics, whorls, and astrology (because if the stars align just right…) They come out from the woodwork in hordes and I guarantee you 99.9% of them will creep back into the caves they dared to leave come the first Sunday in May. Mark my words.
While I see the fun and excitement in watching Derby hopefuls as we get closer and closer to the big day, we’re really all just hoping that when it does arrive we are the lucky ones who can say “ I told you so.” Because, that, is really why we do it; what greater joy is there in life than being able to say “I told you so”?
But seriously, as one horse racing lover to another, keep those Derby predictions coming–even this far out. They keep my mind off this never ending pregnancy but, more importantly, they give us all someone to root for and what fun is the Derby if we don’t have someone to root for?
Without that, it’s just a bunch of horses running down the track while the one eyed, splay footed, Fabio rounds out the pack.