Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My Top 3 Things to Bring to the Kentucky Derby (That Aren't Money)

You'll need money at the Kentucky Derby, lots and lots of money. That's pretty much the most important item to bring to the Kentucky Derby but here are my top 3 items I find are crucial for making your day at the Derby a success.

#1. Neoprene koozie. 
Keeps your drinks cool! Why neoprene, you ask? Because they fold flat and they fit the mint julep glasses perfectly. Beer bottles don't have a perfect fit but it'll do. It's my attempt to dress up a big ol' bottle of Miller Lite. Despite the dress, hat and manicure, it's hard to look classy when you're drinking a bright blue 16 ounce bottle of beer. In past years, I went the girly route with a pink koozie with green ribbon with pink horses on it but this year I'll be slipping my drinks into a Game of Thrones koozie.
Winter is coming. Actually it feels like winter will never end

The koozie possibilities are endless! You can bring a Lily Pulitzer koozie, match your dress with an oh so popular chevron koozie, nothing says Derby like seersucker or there's even a koozie with a bow tie! Or just bring that Corona one you got for free on spring break a few years ago. Whatever floats your boat (and keeps your drinks cool).

#2. Travel sized pack of Kleenex
Have you ever found yourself in a port-o-potty that has run out of toilet paper? I have but it was no big deal since I had my travel size pack of tissues! It's worth the 99 cents.

#3 Cheap plastic poncho
Umbrellas are a no-no at Churchill Downs. If you try to bring one in, they'll take it from you. So if there's rain in the forecast, you'll want to bring a cheap plastic poncho. You can find them in the camping aisle at Target or Walmart or sometimes at a dollar store. Hopefully we won't need them this year, though!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Bad Derby hats

I've posted examples of cute hats that are appropriate for the Kentucky Derby so I thought I'd post some examples that aren't Derby-worthy.

You cannot buy your Derby hat at Walmart or Target. A simple floppy sun hat will not do. I know you want to save money but, trust me, a proper Derby hat can't be found at  big box discount store.

 Nope. Not even close.

Do not DIY and try to dress up a Walmart or Target hat. You can't hot glue some ribbon and flower from Michael's on it. That would be like taking a Sharpie and writing "Dom Perignon" on a 40 of Miller High Life. 

 Good try. 

Red Hat Society hats are a big no. They're fine when you're having tea with your classmates from the class of 1920 but not at the Derby.


There's a not-so fine line between a Kentucky Derby hat and "I raided my grandma's closet." Be sure you're on the right side of that line. A few examples of Grandma's Closet:

Unusual is good, bizarre is not.You're at the Kentucky Derby, not the royal wedding.

Not to mention this thing will set you back $1,400.

How does this even stay on??

El Camino Real Stakes - I got it right!

Finally! My imaginary* exacta would have paid out!

I liked 2- Puppy Manners based on the trainer's record and the horse's recent performances (definitely not on the name because Puppy Manners is a dumb name for a horse),  4- Tamarando based on the jockey, trainer, high Beyer Speed Figure, and race performances, 5- Enterprising because jockey Gary Stevens seems to be on fire lately and Enterprising has had some impressive wins and 8- Dance with Fate based on his route races.

So I wrote down what I would have bet if I had been at the track and did two exactas- 4/8 and 5/2. And that's exactly how they came in! 4-8-5-2! Of course since 4 and 8 were the favorites, I would have cashed a ticket for only $13.70 but that'll get me one mint julep with some money left over for another bet!

The Southwest Stakes took place on Monday and I tried to handicap it but it was snow day #8 for my kids and my heart wasn't in it. It's hard to concentrate when it's the 8th snow day of the school year (will it ever end?!?) and the theme song from Super Hero Squad is blaring from the living room. So I had to lay down my handicapping pen, make a cup of tea and curse that groundhog and his shadow. Screw you, Phil.

It starts to get real this weekend when races are now worth 5--20-10-5 points so I'll definitely be paying attention from here on out. I'm getting excited! 72 days! Hat shopping is right around the corner!

*Why imaginary? Because I live in Missouri and I can't bet online- at least on any reputable sites. Which is probably a good thing since my track record is pretty damn bad.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Robert B Lewis Stakes

The Robert B Lewis Stakes was run at Santa Anita on Saturday. My picks were:
1- Candy Boy, based on jockey, trainer,  and his record at the race distance of 1 1/16. He'd run it twice and came in second and first.
3- Midnight Hawk based on jockey (I have a thing for Mike Smith, if you haven't figured that out yet!), trainer, his record (he was 2 for 2) and his workouts.
5- Cool Samurai based on his pedigree notes (dad was a Grade 1 winner at routes and his mom was sired from a Breeder's Cup Juvenile winner) and because Cool Samurai is a cool name.

I noticed 7- Chitu was a favorite but I didn't know why. This is where my novice-ness stands out. He was 2 for 2 but those wins were in races that were only 6 furlongs. Also the notes on his pedigree said his dad was a sprinter, his mom won once on grass, and a half sister was a sprinter. But he's also a Bob Baffert horse and Baffert is no dummy so if Baffert thinks a horse is ready to go from 6 furlongs to 1 1/16 miles, I should probably sit up and pay attention.

The results were 1/7/3/2 and my imaginary exactas were 3/5, 1/3 and 1/5. So, sadly as usual, I came close but I wouldn't have made any money. I hope my luck changes in Louisville! I was impressed by Candy Boy's race- that was a Derby worthy performance. I wish Midnight Hawk had done better but I'm sure I'll be rooting for Mike Smith on May 3rd, even if it's on a different horse.

How could you NOT root for that smile?