Welcome to the longest running sports event in American history: The Kentucky Derby. On the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs, three-year-old thoroughbreds from around the world gather in Kentucky to test their breeding, training and most importantly speed in what is called “the greatest two minutes in Sports.”
Up until the ill fated HBO Series “LUCK”, my interest in horse racing was about on par with catching a soccer game (no offense soccer fans), aka: just below watching golf or zero. If you aren’t familiar with the show, it starred notables like Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Farina, Richard Kind, Jill Hennessy, Nick Nolte (and many more). The show focused on characters whose lives centered around the horse racing track. Over the course of watching it, it became clear that the show was really all about one thing: the horse. It is Interesting that a show about The Horse, and its redemptive qualities for Man, was cancelled because the producers could not guarantee that they could protect the horses in the show. In all 3 horses died during the production of the show. The Hollywood Reporter has a detailed investigation into the production and animal issues on the show.
To return to point: the show was so well done and exciting that horse racing, breeding, betting, all of it, took on a new sheen that persists even now. And it’s the season.
Did you know that there is a Kentucky Derby winning horse up at Oakhurst Farms? In fact Oregon is home to the only Kentucky Derby winner West of the Mississippi. In 1996, Grindstone was the most famous name on the planet. on May 4th,1996 with a previously unseen effort and speed, he overtook Cavonnier at the wire to win by a nose. Grindstone was also injured in the victory; bone chips in a knee ended his racing career. Put out to stud originally at Overbrook Farm in Kentucky, Grindstone sired 1 champion (Birdstone – who in turn sired 2009 Kentucky Derby Winner “Mine That Bird”) before Overbrook owner William T. Young died and his heirs decided to liquidate the breed stock. Oakhurst owner Jack Root brought Grindstone home to Newberg Oregon in 2009. The more you learn, the more interesting this sport is.
Now what would horseracing be without betting? Not the organized crime flavored “call my bookie” kind of betting, but the legit route. First comes understanding the lingo. That’s easy – Use the Horse Racing Glossary. Now that that’s in the mental library, it’s time to learn how to read the program. You might need some coffee for this one.
Then comes learning how to read the Daily Racing Form – this required an interactive app to reveal its mysteries. Finally it’s time to learn HOW to wager. Got all that? That only leaves one thing…you are probably going to need some help figuring out the odds. In preparation for the pending visit to Portland Meadows, it was time for some expert help on figuring the Kentucky Derby 2015 odds.
Head over here (kentuckyderby.com) if you’d like to get a look at the front runners for this years event.
Finally – every year Portland Meadows, our very own horse racing (and betting) venue, hosts a Kentucky Derby party and live casts the event. Willamette Week crashed the party back in 2012. EDN is contemplating following suit this year…at least the publisher is.
And just in case you ever wonder what your race horse name would be...mine was: