History will end Curlin uproar

Apr 24, 2007 5:15 AM

America’s race, the Kentucky Derby, is one of the most sought after prizes in sports.

Every trainer and owner has had dreams of being lucky enough to get to the Derby that first Saturday in May. And, even with some break from the racing gods, winning. With the Run for the Roses less than two weeks away, I’m trying to find a horse to take a shot with.

Having been to Louisville 22 times for the Derby, my first task was to try and eliminate horses with little or no chance and those that don’t meet my standards of running a winning race at 1¼ mile Saturday, May 5. It was easy to 8, but then I came to a lightly raced horse that has been the hype this year since his rousing win in the Arkansas Derby.

Curlin has not tasted defeat in his short, but spectacular, three race career. He has destroyed his competition by more than 28 lengths. Curlin has really not beaten much, but on paper looks good. What I can’t understand is why the betting public made this horse 7/2 in the last future book wagering.

I just saw him listed at 2/1 at Caesars Palace in its Kentucky Derby pool. I myself would not take 10/1 on him, probably would take 19/1 since there will be 19 horses opposing him. The Kentucky Derby is a race where he will need all his talent and a ton of things to go his way for him to get that garland of roses around his neck.

One thing I know for sure: He will never see one red cent of my money. First, he likely will be overbet. Also, a quick history lesson will show there’s too much going against him to win.

It all started with the "curse of Apollo" back in 1882. Apollo won the Kentucky Derby with no races as a 2yo. In those days the Derby was run at 1½ miles and Apollo won on a good track in 2:40, paying $169.80 for a $5 ticket. Apollo was actually part of a betting field with no show wagering or exotics. Back then there was some place betting, but only if your horse ran second. Apollo’s connections netted $4,560 for the win.

Not since Apollo has there been a Derby winner that failed to race as a 2-year old. Curlin did not race as a 2yo and has just the three lifetime starts. Now we get into the third strike against him.

It’s 1915 and the 41st running of the Derby. The super filly Regret is the talk of Louisville. She proves her legendary owner H.P. Whitney correct, leading from start to finish as the 5/2 favorite to win by two lengths. Regret covered the 1¼ miles in 2:05.2 and paid $7.30 for the win. That year the Derby had 68 nominations, with 15 going to the post.

The winner’s connections netted $11,450, which was a bonanza back then. No horse has won Kentucky Derby with three lifetime starts since. That’s strike three on Curlin. When Regret won the Derby, she wore saddle cloth No. 3. If history is going to repeat, Curlin will have to draw the No. 3 post. If that occurs, I will take up astrology and write a column called horsescope.

In next week’s column I will break down my selections and map out some betting strategy to hopefully come up with the winner or a nice exacta and trifecta.

Baseball: Try 5 innings!

With the major league season in full throttle, Station Casinos has started taking baseball bets on the first five innings. They will offer selected games each day with bets available on the outcome after the first five innings.

How many times have you had the winner going into the late innings only to have the manager pull your starter and then watch as the reliever blows up the game? Go into your favorite Station Casinos locale and check this out. I actually won my first bet this past Sunday.

If I can win a bet on the first 5, it must be easy!