During last year's Kentucky Derby, I posted an old wives' tale about how to choose a winner. According to my mother (and several other ladies of her generation) a gray horse was unusual and therefore lucky. So every year she would check the entries in the Derby and declare any gray horse the official winner. Of course, those picks almost never won. But like a lot of things our mothers tell us when we are growing up, that prediction has stuck with me. The first thing I wonder about on Derby Day is whether or not there is a gray horse in the starting gate.
Last year there were four grays, and they came in as a group--running neck and neck for last place. Not until the Preakness did we see a gray horse making a credible showing. You'd think I'd learn my lesson. But, no.
This year there are two grays in the lineup. Fast and Accurate is a lovely light gray with black accents, but at least one NYT expert has predicted that his color is the only thing he has going for him. (See his picture above) He started today at odds of 50 to 1. Another expert says the only thing interesting about this horse is that his owner is Olympic skier Bode Miller.
The other possibility is a horse of another color. Tapwrit
is a very dark gray with a lighter gray tail and hooves. The experts say he's a possibility. He's had one embarrassing race in which he got off to a bad start, but he's also won races on a wet track, and the Derby is sure to be a wet one. The other evaluation I've seen is that he's a quiet one, staying in the shadow of his stablemate Always Dreaming
. But he's been steadily improving, and today could be his big day. I'm placing my mental bet on him.
Remember the names, because with all the mud on the track, all runners will be a muddy gray color by the end of the race.
And just in case Mother's formula proves wrong again, here are a few other entries it would be fun to root for.
Patch is a terrible racehorse, but he gets lots of sympathy because he has only one eye. Gotta love his spunk!
Gunnevera is an orphan colt and his trainer was kidnapped--twice. He too gets a sympathy vote.
And then there's Gormley, ridden by Victor Espinoza, who won the 2015 Triple Crown on American Pharoah. That's gotta count for something.
I'll be back after the race to hang my head and tell you who the real winner proves to be.