The three-year old racing season is in full swing, with today's card including the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct; the Illinois Derby at Hawthorne; and the Santa Anita Derby in California. The winners of these three prep races will most certainly be the favorites in the Kentucky Derby on the first Satuday in May, with the Bluegrass Stakes next Saturday at Keenland completing the Derby picture for 2006.
The weather in NYC is awful today, with blustery rain and a temperature of 38 degrees. I was all wound up about making my usual trip to the Wood and my first trip back to the track since last fall, but instead woke up hungover, tired and when I tried to take the L the train to Broadway Junction, found I would be traveling on a damn BUS the whole way through Queens to Broadway Junction due to the usual crap L train problems. Hell no. I imagined this taking about 2 hours so I bagged out on going, instead placing my bets at the OTB on Manhattan Avenue amongst some real charmers before retiring to my couch to watch the action. The bonus is that I'm warm, and having Jerry Bailey, the recently retired all-time winningest jockey, on ABC for race coverage is a great new addition to the TV coverage.
The California-bred Brother Derek cemented himself as the Kentucky Derby favorite with an impressive win in the SA Derby, and I was impressed by the late kick Jazil showed in the Wood, blasting through the last furlong to grab second place behind the Bob Baffert trained favorite, Bob and John. A late gear like that bodes well for his chances in the Derby, as the race is 1/4 mile longer than the Wood's 1 1/8 mile course.
Lo and behold, I won $72 on the Wood and a whopping $7.40 on the Santa Anita Derby (less the whopping 9% OTB takeout) from the comforts of Calyer Street. I should save this to buy a new car right away so that I don't have to miss any more big races due to annoyances from the MTA. Instead, I am going to take a car service to and from the city tonight to see the Soledad Brothers and the Heartless Bastards at the Mercury.