Kentucky Derby 141

The table is set, so what’s for dinner?

By Art Parker

It’s all done, the cooking that is. The table is set. Now, we just need to see who shows up.

What’s for dinner? The Kentucky Derby.

The menu for Derby dinner is just as big as it can be. In reality, the list of good selections on the menu is short.

With just a couple of weeks to go we will be exposed to an abundant amount of information about the twenty likely starters in the Derby. The tonnage of information will build every day until Derby Day comes and then we will hear analysis ad nauseam. All of this should cause confusion about the menu, but not this year.

KY Derby 2015So, who will win the Derby? My answer is I don’t know. What I do know, and feel very confident in stating, is that I believe most all of the other opinions have it right. Most everywhere I look, most every analysis, most every news report, there are three names at the top if the list. Those Derby hopefuls repeatedly cited at the top of the menu are Dortmund, American Pharoah and Carpe Diem.

If you want to eat the Derby dinner look no further.

From everything I have seen, which includes video of all races, there is no other horse that poses a threat. I give a little nod, with much reluctance, to International Star, Materiality and Frosted. There are limited reasons for mentioning that trio of Derby hopefuls.

Dortmund is a big, beautiful youngster that may not fully understand how to run. He just runs much faster than at least seventeen others that will be in the Derby.

American Pharoah looks to be a professional race horse that makes it look much too easy. I believe he has his mind on business as well as can be expected from a three year old, and that escalates his physical ability.

Carpe Diem has the coolest name I’ve heard in years, especially when one knows the meaning. He reminds me of A.P. Indy – he may need to be coaxed into running and winning. If he turns out as good as A.P. Indy then we have something to look forward to.

Fox Sports posted a piece on the KY Derby horses the other day with a very brief description of the presumed entrants. They had American Pharoah at 5-1. Dortmund was listed at 6-1. Carpe Diem was at 10-1. Let me announce, right now, that if any of these three go off at these odds I will be making a wager on their nose.

A lot can happen in a horse race, especially the Derby. We all know that the best horse does not often win in Louisville. The Derby, much more than other races, demands that the player seek value. And this may be the best year to be seeking.

One of the top three, for whatever reason, may be disrespected on the tote board. I hope so.

The bottom line is that I’m not concerned about who wins the Derby. I just want to make a good bet.

And this may be a good Derby to do just that.


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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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