Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Book Trailer for The Master Yeshua

Now that the book is finally out, I updated the book trailer to include a few excerpts at the end from the Kirkus review. Feel free to share with whomever may be interested.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Preakness Day Pick 4's

Well, today's betting strategy is called "I can't make up my mind!" I wound up betting two Pick 4 tickets and will hope they both hit. It's race 12 that has proved to be the real puzzler. Anyway, here are my two tickets. American Pharoah will have to win the Preakness for them both to hit.



Good luck! May all the horses come home safely.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Preakness 2015 Picks

Time for the second jewel of the Triple Crown! Here are my thoughts on the Preakness.

Well, after the Kentucky Derby, I would've said American Pharoah was the likely winner until he drew the rail. He likes to stalk, and the speed is immediately in the two-hole. Martin Garcia on Dortmund is not going to be kind to Victor Espinoza on American Pharoah and graciously leave a hole for him on the rail. So Victor will have to take Pharoah to the outside, meaning there will be a lot of jockeying for early positions. It could work out, or it could NOT work out. At short odds, I'm not sure I like the idea of singling American Pharoah.

Bob Baffert has also admitted that Dortmund was a bit colicky after a workout prior to the Kentucky Derby, so since he still hung on for third and has a shorter trip this time, assuming he's 100%, he may just give Pharoah a better race. Same for Firing Line, who passed Dortmund and for a moment looked like he might run away with the Derby until Pharoah mowed him down. So, again, with a shorter distance to go, a miscalculation by Espinoza (such as moving American Pharoah too late or finding himself boxed in) could set up a nice, clean trip for Firing Line on the outside.

The bottom line is that I think any one of these three horses could win--though, of course, my desire to see a Triple Crown winner after all of this time means that naturally I'm rooting for American Pharoah.

Of the other entries, I don't like them to win (they appear outmatched), but it's worth noting that Bodhisattva has a win over the Pimlico track, and Divining Rod, who qualified for the Derby, skipped it to be pointed directly at this race, so he's fresh. If they look good going into the race, I'll probably sprinkle those two on the bottom in the exotics.

I'll probably post a Late Pick 4 ticket for races 10-13 tomorrow morning after the scratches, so check back. Good luck!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

My Latest Acquisition

Djed amulet, Late Period @500 BCE

Check it out! Though I'm no serious collector by any means, I'm proud of this one. It's a djed amulet from the Egyptian Late Period, dated approximately 500 BCE. It's also tiny, not quite an inch tall. There's also a tiny hole in the back through which a person could've strung a cord and worn it.

The djed, said to represent the spine of Osiris, most often imparted stability. But when the amulet was placed on the body of a mummy near its spine, it was said to ensure the mummy's resurrection.

I bought this from a collector in the UK, who acquired it at auction back in the 1980s.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Hapless Tigger's Pick 4 (races 8-11) Ticket

Well, with the scratch of Stephanie's Kitten, I had to do a little rethinking, but this is the ticket I finally landed on. Good luck, all!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Derby Picks 2015

I'm afraid I don't have time tonight to 'cap the entire card, but I did consider the Pick 4 that commences in race 8 and ends with race 11 (the Derby). Here are my thoughts:

Race 8: Lady Lara, Sandiva, Coffee Clique; Tepin is a live longshot with Leparoux up and 15-1 odds.

Race 9: Bayern (although one hates to single a horse at such low odds unless his name is Zenyatta. He's also been inconsistent at times and is coming off a layoff from an injured quarter crack. Still, I've never known Bob Baffert to run a a horse that wasn't ready, and his works seem to say he is.) I may add Pants on Fire, Private Zone, and Gentleman's Bet. But if I have to pick a single, he'll be it.

Race 10: I have to root for Stephanie's Kitten! She's won over the course three times; let's make it four. But serious competition looms in Jack Milton, Optimizer, Finnegan's Wake, Seek Again, and Grand Arch. Coalport looks like a good longer shot. Argh. I suppose I could narrow it down a bit by picking Seek Again, who's been chasing the best in Wise Dan. (Note: in my Oaks-Woodford-Derby pick 3, I went with 1,5,7,8. So I probably, in the Pick 4, will choose 'Kitten, Seek Again, and others I've mentioned here that I didn't bet there since I did pick the Oaks winner. If 'Kitten wins, I'll be doubly thrilled.) UPDATE: STEPHANIE'S KITTEN IS A SCRATCH.

Race 11: As I posted earlier, I have a soft spot for the undefeated Dortmund. That big guy is a freak of nature! But American Pharaoh simply can't be ignored, even if he is stuck way out in the 18 hole. I'd put those two on top. Other contenders to include in the exotics: Materiality, Carpe Diem, Firing Line, Frosted, and Upstart. (update: I'm having second thoughts about Carpe Diem due to his post position coupled with the fact that he tends to work himself up before races. Obviously you can't check how he looks before betting the Pick 4, but for trifectas, etc, I'd have a look at him prior to the race to see how much energy he's burning off.)

These are just preliminary thoughts. I'll post my actual Pick 4 ticket tomorrow, so check back!

Good luck to all!

Actual ticket:

Oaks/Derby 2015

Hello, fellow horseplayers, I know you've not seen anything from me lately but a barrage of posts about my novel. Never fear, I'd never shirk my duty on the Derby! I'm afraid I'm getting to this rather late today since my tummy was giving me problems this morning, so all I've got are Oaks, Woodford, Derby picks. 

In the Oaks, I want to like Stellar Wind, but John Sadler does horribly when he ships out of California. So she's nothing approaching a single. So really there are any number of fillies that could step up. I like Larry Jones a lot, so I'm not leaving out his two entries. And Joel Rosario will be a big threat on Condo Commando. I also like Birdatthewire. Yeah, I'm spreading there, but if you have deeper pockets, you might consider adding the 1 horse as well as a potential upset.

This year's Kentucky Derby is the most competitive one I've seen in quite some time. But I have to pick somehow and frankly, I have a soft spot for big ole Dortmund. That horse is a freak. Still, American Pharaoh is not to be trifled with either. I hate to pick the two favorites, but those two stand out head and shoulders for me. It should be something to see them tackle each other. Either way, I think Bob Baffert will win the Derby this year unless there is a total pace meltdown and some horse at 50-1 shuffles over the wire first.

More tomorrow, I hope.

Oaks-Woodford-Derby Ticket

Oaks: 5,7,8,12,13
Woodford: 1,5,7,8
Derby: 8,18