It’s time for Kentucky Derby picks and baseball

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There were two Kentucky Derby prep races this past weekend and Eileen DiRocco, owner and publisher of GamingToday, had both winners in her column last week.

The victor of the Risen Star at the Fairgrounds was El Padrino who won a desperate decision by a nostril, surviving a stewards review. The win can only move this colt forward for trainer Todd Pletcher.

It was not all roses for Pletcher over the weekend as he may have lost one of his top Kentucky Derby horses, Algorithms, to an injury. We will wait and see if he can come back.

After he was scratched on Sunday in the Fountain Of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park that left Pletcher’s other runner, Discreet Dancer, as the odds on chalk over Union Rags. I was hard pressed to figure that one out and keyed my plays.

Well, Rags won so easily it was scary, drawing away under a Leparoux hand ride to give Eileen another winner for the weekend. Leparoux inherited the mount on Union Rags after his regular rider opted for Algorithms. The class act trainer Michael Matz is tells me Leparoux will stay on board.

All I can say is good job, Eileen, but you still can’t write my column! With this win I believe Union Rags will be the Derby chalk from this point out, even if Algorithms comes back.

Baseball

With the boys of summer getting ready in spring training it is time for Saber to get out and make some future bets. I know money is getting tighter every day and it is hard to lock it up for several months, especially with gas prices heading to $5 a gallon. Still, you won’t miss a $50 here and there.

In fact, after a week or two the money is in lock down and you get to sweat it out for three months. The first future bet I made seems very easy. If I had a nickel to lock up it would be on Pirates OVER 73 total season wins.

The “Buccos” won 72 last year under first year skipper Clint Hurdles, going 36-45 both home and away. Andrew McCutchen is on the verge of stardom. A young pitching staff has added AJ Burnett from the Yankees.

Burnett struggled under the glare of the Big Apple but in a less offensive league, without the spotlight, I look for him to improve his record from last year. Burnett has always had a good fastball and a great curve ball. Now he is working on a change up and that should be a big help in Pittsburgh.

In addition to AJ, the Pirates have added Clint Barmes from the Rockies and the return of Nate McLouth from a stint with the Braves. Finally, you have to expect every team in the NL Central to benefit from the exit of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder.

With the experience of last year and the changes in the team and the division, I believe the Pirates can improve by more than two wins and could even reach 80 if the pitching stays healthy.

Mamas & OSU

Before I came to Vegas I was in the clothing business from 1967 to 1977, I would travel to New York City for at least two buying trips a year and we would always eat in the popular Italian restaurant Mama Leone’s.

My memories of the food back then were aroused this past Sunday when Sue and I were invited to Mama Vivio’s place at the Las Vegas Country Club for an Italian feast and the red carpet show for the Oscars. Mama Vivio is the mother of Vic Vivio, race book supervisor at Palace Station.

Her cooking took me right back in time to New York City 1969. As for the red carpet, well all I can say is I did like Billy Crystal but could not take it after him.

After watching Ohio State lose at home to Wisconsin on Sunday, I think they will be hard pressed to win at Northwestern on Wednesday. Take the points with Northwestern.

Thursday, look for Illinois to get the money at home against Michigan as they gear up for the madness.

 

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