CHURCHILL DOWNS, KY - It's Thursday AM and I'm writing this post in advance because I might be headed to the no-internet zone by this afternoon (my mom's summer house/cabin). My departure is TBD - but my departure from getting Angry Ward like ticked off at NY sports teams has already happened. The Rangers were up three games and for the next three, just couldn't seal the deal. Disgusting, really. It's barely May and it's just not worth it anymore. We've barely got 15% of the baseball games played and I'm popping Tums like they're candy. I find myself somewhat pleased when my team's average is .500 or slightly above it, and am very pleased that the Yanks have won two in a row against the Tigers. The TIGERS! That's pretty sad. Los Mets are no better - and in fact worse. Anyway, I could have written the Met version of Angry Ward's brilliant post on the 2009 Promo Giveaways at ChitiField but that was too obvious a poach. (However, I was DYING to write about Met Promo Days like Welfare for Wilpons or David Wright Whiff Ball Day - the emphasis on the 'WHIFF' there people.) No. Instead, I will turn my focus to horse racing. I love the ponies - and so does my son. I was oh so proud when he took his first pony ride and I've always said that if I came into a pile o' money (the Mega Millions current jackpot will do nicely), I'd get me some ponies. But I've just got to be content with looking at them on TV, or at various horse events - farms, bottles of Elmer's Glue and the like. Okay, truth be known, I froth at the mouth for the horse races. Ask West Coast Craig and he'll tell you about Santa Anita. It's a pilgrimage I've got to take; a horse racing mecca. So, turn your eyes to Churchill Downs on Saturday and there will be the famed Kentucky Derby... Ah, The Derby. Home to big hats, mint juleps, an infield that smells like beer and puke, and the first jewel in the elusive Triple Crown. In nearly every recent year, something freaky happens with the Triple Crown. Last year I nearly swore off horse betting as the rare filly entry, Eight Belles, LITERALLY ran herself to death. Big Brown won the Derby, the Preakness and then Brown went vanilla and did nothing for anyone in the Belmont Stakes. But clearly, I didn't swear off betting. Moreover, after never winning a Triple Crown bet, I decided to change my strategy and let my toddler pick some ponies. After all, it beats him pickin' boogies and he couldn't do much worse bet wise. We'll turn him to the color of the silks. His favorite color is yellow and unfortunately there's no horse with yellow as the dominant color. So, I pulled my son over to the PC and the colors of the silks and he picked Join In The Dance-- the 50-1 Nick Zito horse. Forget it. If you don't know Zito, he's got a history of having multiple, over-hyped horses in big races, only to see them do nada. Scratch that one off the list. Pick again young toddler. Next up, he liked West Side Bernie.. a 30-1. I like that based on the incorporation of the name Bernie (one of my fave Yankees is Bernie Williams) and he shares some lineage with 1978 (and most recent) Triple Crown Winner - Affirmed. Good stuff! After that, in my son's honor (and that of every other female on the planet), I am picking Chocolate Candy. EVERY kid likes candy. Oddly enough, Chocolate Candy is owned by Sid and Jenny Craig. Yes - THAT Jenny Craig. And while I was ready to toss this horse because of the big, FAT association, I read about their charitable work (as they oft give their horse winnings to charity) and decided the Candy was a keeper. Candy, Candy, Candy I can't let you go! Besides, Chocolate's dam, Crownette, was by Seattle Slew. Even people who don't follow horse racing know the legend of this '77 Triple Crown horse... Mike Smith has the mount here and nothing gives you an edge like an experienced jockey. Hmmm.. So, I have two horses picked. Who do I go with for the third? Or, do I even go Trifecta? It's impossible to hit, but if you do an exacta with a odds-on, odds are that your payout won't be great. What to do? There's a LOT of chatter about this I Want Revenge-- who also comes from Seattle Slew (he's a grandson of his). But at 3-1, I just don't like it. It screams that you'll get screwed worse than Billy Crystal in Randy Levine's hot tub (inside joke for new readers)... Even so, I checked the jockey; Joe Talamo is on him. I kinda like that. I've watched a few episodes of Animal Planet's 'Jockeys' and Talamo is a young kid with heart and talent. He has a few wins under his belt and comes up in the money. And, how cool would it be for a 19 year old to win the Derby? I've gotta think about this one. Then there are the long shots. My first outing to Belmont (and first time betting on the ponies), I won some nice cash on the longshots. I also won six out of the eight races that I bet on that day. Ah, twas a feat never to be repeated-- but that's how every enthusiastic horse bettor is born. But hay (pun) - we're way out before the morning line and it's all up for grabs. For now though, the Yanks have put together some wins, and,as Philview said, "No jury would convict Johan." So I'm takin' it easy, takin' the omnipotent toddler bets and makin' it work for me. And.. they're off!!!