In the Bluegrass State, we love our bourbon and we love our Derby. I have to say that I am not a fan of the mint julep. I will drink one on Derby Day out of tradition, but I prefer my bourbon on the rocks.
Big hats – YES, they are a thing, and they are an important thing.
Picking your horse – yes, you must have a horse to root for. It gets you in the mood, it accomplishes “buy-in” for the race, and it gives you a name to yell during the race, after a couple or five juleps, while holding your big hat on your head and jumping up and down screaming.
So – how to pick your Derby horse? That’s a good question. The bookmakers are busy this week, handicapping and constantly updating the odds.
Some folks choose their horse by name, some by lineage, and some by trainer. Others choose by jockey, how the horse looks, or other reasons. Following are my picks, and the rationale behind their selections. It’s highly scientific, so pay close attention, Darlin’.
Dortmund – His sire is Big Brown of 2008 Derby and Preakness fame. Love Big Brown.
Keen Ice and Toasting Master – this is a case of rooting for the hometown boy, as trainer Dale Romans grew up on the backstretch of Churchill Downs. Both of these horses are under his care, so if forced to choose, I’d have to pick Toasting Master as he is a longshot.
Ocho, Ocho, Ocho – name means eight, eight, eight. This will be the most fun name to scream whilst jumping up and down, securing one’s hat with one hand and sloshing a julep in the other.
Bolo – shout out to the homegirl Carla Gaines. If Bolo wins, Carla will be the first female trainer to bring it home. Good luck, sister.
Frosted – Ever since we had a blue/gray cutting horse named Pancho, I have loved a gray horse. He’s PRETTY. And Pancho was sweet. Nuff said.
and my number one Derby pick for 2015 is… Firing Line.
This lovely child of Line of David and Sister Girl Blues (by Hold for Gold) is a contender. His trainer is Simon Callagan, who left school at the age of 16 to pursue his love of training horses. Up will be Gary Stevens, who has 8 Triple Crown wins including 3 Derbies. He starred in Seabiscuit!! Owner Arnold Letcher is the former CEO of Talbots, and I love to shop there.
As if those were not reasons enough… I tend to choose my horse by the colors of his silks. Behold.
My work here is done. May the best horse win, and just as importantly, may none of these beautiful beasties or their riders meet with any harm or injury during this fiercely competitive two minutes.