Tuesday, April 29, 2008

134th Kentucky Oaks

I am assuming Eight Belles will run in the Kentucky Derby (hahaha, it's rather poetic justice she got the outside post in the Oaks). It's Proud Spell's race to lose--she's never NOT hit the board, even after a bad break in her last race in addition to the fact that she may not have liked the synthetic track at Keeneland.

But I also have to like Little Belle simply because of her connections (Kiaran McLaughlin for Godolphin Racing). She's won her last three in a row and is improving and it seems she can handle dirt or synthetic track. Plus she wasn't in the first Oaks Pool, so I actually have a futures bet on her since I bet "all others." So I'm selfish. Yeah, yeah.

Golden Doc A seems another obvious choice given her bullet at Churchill Downs last Wednesday (5 furlongs in .59 flat). Bejarano, her usual jockey, hops off to ride Country Star, but Kent Desormeaux, who picks up this mount, isn't a shoddy jockey. The jockey change and the fact she's never raced on dirt should frighten some people away from her too and get her a bit of a price. Gotta like that.

The two other horses I like are Bsharpsonata--she's got speed and has won on dirt. Then there's Pure Clan, another improving filly who has never NOT hit the board and has been chasing Eight Belles lately. Edgar Prado is aboard, which is always a plus in my book.

Thus, depending on how much money is in your bankroll, box for the exacta, trifecta, and/or superfecta 8-7-1-10-11. Or key one or two of 'em and let the rest follow. (For sure I couldn't do a 5-horse superfecta box. That's what? $120? Yikes.)

Good luck!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Sign of the Apocalypse

I'm losing my mind. But, no. My Beautiful Mommy, written by Florida-based plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Salzhauer, is billed by its author as the first book that explains plastic surgery to kids. He says it's an issue with which many of his patients struggle. Read here.

Let's see...Mommy comes home with a tummy tuck, larger breasts, and a different nose (that is the plot, from what I've heard.) The storyline helps the young'uns adjust to the idea(s).

And they thought gay parents were freaky.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

'08 Kentucky Derby Belongs to Anybody

The buzz is that it's going to be another "Giacomo Year" in the 134th Kentucky Derby. I'm inclined to agree, since there doesn't seem to be a single standout horse. The undefeated Big Brown has his fans and may very well wind up the favorite due to his wire-to-wire killing of the field in the Florida Derby.

Still, remember Bellamy Road in 2005, the year Giacomo won? He looked like a superstar after winning the Wood Memorial with a 120 Beyer, but, as we all know now, he didn't even hit the board in the Kentucky Derby. And bear this in mind: actually of the three Derby preps last week, the fastest final time posted was that of the Illinois Derby, won by Recapturetheglory. (Whom, you say?) That's right, a horse whose present morning line odds for the Derby are 40-1. Some have compared him to War Emblem.

Still, Big Brown had only a 106 Beyer, and the total Derby field is weak, weak, weak in this regard.

War Pass is out, hurt; Sierra Sunset is out, hurt; and the fabulous Pyro tanked in the Blue Grass, so if he's not injured, he may have already peaked (or ...who knows? Maybe not. Maybe he didn't like the synthetic track). Then there are the horses who've done well on synthetic track (such as Colonel John, winner of the Santa Anita Derby), but who knows how they'll do on dirt? Yesterday at Keeneland, Behindatthebar won, but I've seen that horse run here at Bay Meadows, on dirt, in the El Camino Real Derby. He came in 5th, and the winner of that race shouldn't have won at all. In fact, none of the Southern California shippers that day did well in that race. One of the jockeys posited, looking baffled, that maybe it was because it was the first time dirt had been kicked into their faces.

Then there are the sentimental horses I can't help but want to bet: here, if they get in, the two fillies, Proud Spell (who beat the undefeated Indian Blessing) and Eight Belles. Let's not forget that a filly, Rags to Riches, won the Belmont Stakes last year. And one of the few horses to win the Derby gate-to-wire was the great filly Winning Colors.

Then there are the "I Wish" horses merely because I just happen to have a futures bet on their noses: for me, that'd be Pyro (d'oh!) and then Monba, who did win the Bluegrass Stakes. But he's a Todd Pletcher horse, and Pletcher seems to carry a Derby Curse, who, despite his other successes and his huge stable, can't seem to win the Run for the Roses.

Two other horses deserving of mention are Gayego, winner of the Arkansas Derby, and Adriano, winner of the Lane's End. Interestingly, jockey Edgar Prado (who rode Barbaro to victory) had his choice of three horses to pilot, and he picked Adriano over Tale of Ekati and (too bad for me) Monba. He made his decision after taking Adriano on a "test drive" on the dirt at Churchill, so what does that tell you? Still, jockeys make mistakes, too.

So you see the hair-pulling I'm doing. Honestly, in a 20-horse field, you just can't know what kind of trip your horse is likely to get and how he'll respond to being bumped all over the place and so on. Anymore, the Kentucky Derby has turned into a crapshoot. There are probably some horses you can safely eliminate as the winner, but I'm thinking this year I may very well bet most of the field to win and then easily get that money back if one of the longer shots comes in.

The year Giacomo won? My partner and I had bet the field as a party ploy. Seriously. We bet all the horses, dropped the horses' names into a hat, and everyone at the party drew. Assuming we'd take a loss, we still wanted at least someone at the party to win. As it was, Giacomo paid $100 on our $40 bet. Turns out it was my partner's mom who won, and she promptly told us to keep the money since she hadn't even put up the $2.

Hmmm. Maybe it was that mint julep I made for her.

In any case, my partner and I intend to listen carefully to the track gossip about who's training well at Churchill Downs before the race (had I done that two years ago, I'd have known better than to bet Sweetnorthernsaint). And then I'll probably flip a few coins.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

You Can Have Your Tiger Woods, We Have John McCain

Wow. Let's see. McCain didn't say anything when Hillary was referred to as a bitch. And here he doesn't say anything about the coded racist comment. Sexism and racism apparently don't bother McCain, at least not if they play in his favor. I used to respect the man ... he's selling out a lot lately in his quest for the Presidency.

Too Bad, Stanford Cardinal

That was an ugly game for Stanford. They were very quickly shut down by Tennessee's defense (they were all over Candice Wiggins) and kept stealing the ball and blocking shots. This freaked Stanford out because offense is their strength, so they started taking shots too quickly and missing. Tennessee is a taller team than Stanford, too, so they would shoot and then get their own rebound more times than I can say. Towards the end of the game, Jayne Appel looked like she wanted to cry, and this may be what ultimately caused Stanford to lose the game: they lost their heart and gave up.

Doesn't mean they still didn't have a greater-than-anticipated season, and Candice still goes out with more trophies and awards than she expected. Doesn't mean Tara VanDerveer's not a good coach; it's a young team with some real talent, so they should do nothing but develop.

As for Pat Summit, sigh. She's like a pop song played over and over again until you're tired of hearing it. So you just want to say ...

Hahahaha! I'm sure I'll go to hell, but that sure felt good.

Monday, April 7, 2008

It'll Be Stanford Versus Tennessee

All I can say is, way to go, Stanford! UConn was the clear favorite but Stanford gave 'em more than they bargained for, winning 82-73. Tomorrow night's National Championship against the Tennessee Vols will be particularly sweet for me because ... well, because whenever I look at Pat Summit's face, I just want to smack her. (It's because Summit was rude to my partner once back when she worked operations at Stanford, and my partner won't abide divas demanding special treatment. 'Nuff said.)

Candice Wiggins had a great game, scoring 25 points, which isn't great for her, actually, but she had two key 3-pointers that changed the momentum of the game early in the 2nd half (although Stanford never was behind, if memory serves). Kayla Pedersen was a shining star, as was Jayne Appel (gawd, that's a tall gal), and J.J. Hones. Ah, hell, the whole team was awesome, moving the ball around the court and keeping the Huskies running. I think one of the commentators remarked that no team had scored over 80 points on UConn's defense all season, so the Cardinal rattled 'em fairly well.

I think Stanford has a great shot at beating Tennessee. The LSU Tigers played terribly (they couldn't sink a bucket if you paid them) yet almost won. The Vols managed to squeak in a basket with 7 seconds to go in a pathetically low-scoring game (what? was it 44-43?). Their star player, the "other Candace," has a hurt shoulder and shot very poorly. After their game, she quickly said her shoulder was just fine, but sorry. Every time her arms went up in the air, she was flinching and I don't think it was 'cause she missed the shot.

You can bet tomorrow I'll be parked in the front of the TV cheering my booty off. Fingers crossed! Here's a shot of a celebrating Candice Wiggins:

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I Never Could Do Rubik's Cube, Either

Abortions and Ultrasounds: The Florida House Has Lost Its Mind

According to the Sun-Sentinal, the Florida House has passed a bill that would require all women seeking an abortion to first get an ultrasound:
TALLAHASSEE - The Florida House on Wednesday mounted what critics called a two-pronged assault on abortion rights, passing legislation that would require pregnant women to undergo ultrasound exams before getting abortions and effectively defining life at conception for criminal prosecutions.

Any woman seeking to terminate a pregnancy would be required to pay for an ultrasound procedure — and view the results unless she signed a waiver — before having the abortion, under a bill passed by the House largely along party lines.
Now there is only one stupid reason I can come up with to justify the government's interference in what should be a private decision. It's this: "Hey, if you're thinking about getting an abortion, lady, you obviously must not know what you're doing. You must not realize that's a LIFE in there! If we force you to take a look, you'll realize what a colossal mistake you're making and you won't have the procedure. Or, if you do, you'll have to deal with guilt the rest of your days."

What's offensive about this "rationale" is that it assumes women seeking abortions have no clue about what they're doing. It assumes they haven't actually struggled already with the decision. Once again, the Republicans feel like they have to make up women's minds for them, because, you know, we don't have enough sense to think through matters for ourselves ... especially matters involving our own bodies.

Let's hope the Florida Senate has better sense.