Greetings sports fans and welcome back to yet another thrilling adventure called Vegas Valley Sports Beat. That tasty little meatball of a column that goes great with some Fava beans, and a nice Chianti. It’s a beautiful Sunday evening here in the Las Vegas Valley region. The trusty old thermometer on the barn wall says it’s 62 degrees at 7:30 p.m. much hotter days are coming soon so enjoy the cool weather while you can.
Yesterday was the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby and yours truly had a bet on a horse to win for the first time ever. I woke up yesterday morning and turned on my work computer to find an article on the news wire to the effect that renowned horse trainer, Bob Baffert was saying that his horse, number 8 Medina Spirit wasn’t fast enough to keep up with the favorites in the race. I knew right away that Bob Baffert was probably full of baloney as did the author of the article. So, determined was I to put some money on Medina Spirit to win. I got up and went straight away by means of various detours to the William Hill sportsbook at the Pahrump Nugget and I got there just in the nick of time to put $20 on #8 Medina Spirit to win.
I wandered around the casino playing keno and what not so I didn’t actually see the race but many people throughout the day agreed with my assessment including the writer of that article previously mentioned that Bob Baffert was probably full of baloney. Nobody believed it. Well, nobody but the fool that reportedly wagered $2.5 million dollars of the favorite to win. When I got to the sportsbook to see who won, the bookie was talking about it with two customers and I asked who won. Sure enough, Bob Baffert’s horse had just won the Kentucky Derby. Again. I was like WOOHOO! So I handed the bookie my ticket and he ran it through the machine and informed me they had given me the 10th race, not the 8th. I specifically stated I wanted to bet on number eight to win the Kentucky Derby and the woman gave me the wrong race. I learned a very hard lesson. yesterday. I learned that she has to be watched because she apparently doesn’t understand English, or doesn’t know how to do her job. Whatever it was it was my fault for not checking the ticket before I picked it up. There was nothing I could do about it, and the number eight horse, whoever it was, did not win the 10th race. Number 8 won the eighth race though. To say I was incredulous and righteously pissed off is an extreme understatement but what could I do? Nothing.
It’s nice to know that I picked the winning horse my first time ever betting on the Kentucky Derby, but it was a painful lesson in personal responsibility at the hands of the Sportsbook for me. I didn’t think to check it because I didn’t think I had to check it. I thought I made myself perfectly clear, but obviously, I did not. I hope William Hill is very proud of himself he got me for a hot smoking twenty bucks and saved himself from having to pay me over $300 for the win. That’s a pretty janky business practice if you ask me. I wonder how many other people they got that way. If you screw up it’s your fault if they screw up it’s your fault too. No wonder the house never loses.
Again the operating catchphrase here is caveat emptor, or, let the buyer beware. Before you put your hand on a sports bet ticket look at it carefully and make sure it is exactly what you ordered or you too could get pencil whipped this way. I’m just glad I didn’t go balls out and bet a thousand dollars on Bob’s horse to win. I don’t mind losing an honest bet I’ve lost that much on the Super Bowl when the Broncos threw it away, and blatantly I might add, to the Seattle Seahawks. But to be cheated out of it like that by an incompetent, or unscrupulous licensed bookie is really foul in my book. That’s all I have to say about it.
Congratulations are in order for Robert Baffert on his historic 7th record-breaking Kentucky Derby win. It’s astounding but I think I know how he gets his horses to win. That is not by any means to imply cheating of any kind. Long before I ever heard of Bob Baffert, I wrote to my Nephew Luke that if I ever had the money I’d buy a decent Thoroughbred and train it to go the distance at Belmont. I said I would also train my horse to love winning races. To live for post time and the roar of the crowd as the gates drop and the track announcer cries, aaand, they’re off! I said I’d teach my horse to never let another horse get ahead of him, to get out front and stay in front all the way to the wire. Once I felt he was ready, I’d name him Bob’s Your Uncle, and I’d win the Triple Crown with him.
It almost has to be or certainly should be a law that says if you win the Kentucky Derby you have to make a run at the Triple Crown. Otherwise, what’s the point of running in the Derby? I personally have all faith in Bob’s ability to produce a third Triple Crown winner, and I think Medina Spirit has as good a chance as anyone else does and he deserves a shot at the title. Let him run Bob. Please?
Here’s Bob’s take on Medina Spirit making a run at the Triple Crown, and a recap of the derby from the horse’s mouth so to speak.
“Can he win the Triple Crown? I don’t know. But he’s the Derby winner, and that’s all that matters,” Baffert said Sunday morning at Barn 33. “I was coming in here, thinking, I wasn’t sure (if Medina Spirit could win the Derby), everything had to go perfect for him. We were going to go to the lead, and see what happened. What if they challenged him? He made the lead pretty easily, for him, and the other speed horse didn’t break (Rock Your World). That’s what it’s like in the Derby: You have to get the trip; the other speed horse didn’t get the trip.
“Going down the backside, he was doing it easy, you could tell he was enjoying himself. His ears were forward. And turning for home, they came for him, and he just dug in. I didn’t know if he was going to do it. He fought hard, and ran sort of the same race that he did at Santa Anita when he won the Robert Lewis. They came to him, and he fended them all off.
“I couldn’t believe it, at the sixteenth pole he was fighting and fighting. It was just a thrill to watch him do it, and fight on.
“And he came back, he’s handling it quite well. He wasn’t as tired as I thought he might be. A big race like that, but he handled it quite well.”
“When they turned for home, I was still not convinced,” Baffert said. “We didn’t start screaming and yelling until about the sixteenth pole, when it looked like it was do-able. In that last hundred yards, we all were screaming and yelling like it was my first Derby. We were like crazy, crazy. That’s what the Derby does to you. There’s no other race like it. The seven hasn’t quite sunk in yet. And to do it with a $35,000 horse. It gives people hope, keeps their dreams alive. Actually he was the cheapest yearling, since he cost $1,000. But he’s a beautiful horse, a good-looking horse.
The obvious question following the Derby triumph is the Pimlico question: on to the Preakness?
“He came out of it well. It takes about a week to determine, so I’m going to come back next weekend and see,” Baffert said. “But I don’t see anything discouraging right now. Concert Tour worked well this morning (five furlongs in 1:00.60 at 5:50), I’ll sit down and talk to Mr. (Gary) West. He wants that horse to develop and we’re not rushing things. We know he’s a good horse, so we’ll see next week how he is. The thing is how they’re training. They both would have to be training well.”
Congratulations also to the owners, Zedan Racing, and to Medina Spirit for winning the Kentucky Derby. Good luck in the Preakness, and then let’s hope Medina Spirit will go on to Belmont and chase history.
Thank you also to the Kentucky Derby for the Derby, and thank you to kentuckyderby.com for the use of these images and text, and for whom all rights are reserved in full.