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DERBY DIRT.
May 3, 2002
by Bill Hogan

 

 
 

On Tuesday May 7, 1968, three days after Dancer's Image won the Kentucky Derby, Dancer's Image lost the Kentucky Derby.

Dancer's Image failed a drug test. This fact opens up a world of questions.

 
 

I realize it was the '60's - lava lamps, the Stones and men on the moon - but where did a wholesome, clean cut, thoroughbred get the drugs? Maybe he was hanging out at wild parties with a bunch of young fillies and somebody slipped him a micky.

And how do you give a horse a urine test? How the heck did they get a three-year-old horse to pee in a cup? I'd hate to have been the guy that had to hold that cup.

It took a lot of convincing to get my recently potty trained three-year-old to pee in a cup for a physical examination. But once he got the hang of it, he loved the idea - nobody in the house left an unfinished glass of orange juice lying around. (Otherwise it remained unfinished).

And what tipped the racing officials off that there might have been foul play involved in the first place? After all, at 2:02.2, it was the slowest Derby in seven years.

Who was the genius that thought it was necessary to give the horse drugs before the biggest race of his career? Drugs can help a human athlete perform like a thoroughbred, but what do drugs do for a thoroughbred's performance?

Forward Pass was the beneficiary of the disqualification. Which leads me to another question. What happened with all the racing fans that bet on Forward Pass to win? Did they get to cash in their tickets? (Assuming they didn't rip them up as soon as the race was official).

The '60's were a crazy period in American history. Vietnam, Woodstock, Richard Nixon and the only Kentucky Derby winner ever to be disqualified.

The cynic in me has to wonder how it is that it never happened before 1968 - or since.

*****

I have a hunch some of you may have missed or forgotten last year's feature on the Kentucky Derby. Here, once again, is my view on playing your hunch:

I have a hunch that, for many of you, the Derby provides the one and only chance, each year, to place a wager on a sporting event. Two dollars "on the nose" of a horse you likely know little, or nothing, about.

Here's a tip: Check out the field, then play your hunch!

History is on your side: Police officers all over the country cleaned up in 1948 when Citation ran away from the field.

The depression must have seemed light years away for savvy Wall Street investors who wagered the last of their money on the nose of Brokers Tip in 1933.

It was a martini lover's dream to scan the charts in 1994 and see Go For Gin making his bid for the Derby crown.

And fast food lovers played a whopper of a hunch when they put their money on Burgoo King in 1932. Shakes all around!

There are hunches of a more personal nature that may work out better for you. Pamela Anderson would have made a bundle in 1959 on Tomy Lee.

Of course, it always seems like it's the least interested bettors that wind up cashing in on a hunch. You know, those Pensive (1944) gamblers who seem to contemplate every betting option right up to post-time.

The bettor prone to feelings of remorse, who may Regret (1915) placing two hard-earned dollars on a race, can usually be spotted at the cashiers window shortly after the results are posted.

Then there is the self-proclaimed horse race "expert", you can usually spot him with a Racing Form under his arm. When pressed at post-time for a sure thing, these fellas usually become Real Quiet (1998).

So, Spend A Buck (1985), get in the action, and go with that hunch.

* * * * *

Here's a fact that may surprise you: Spectacular Bid in 1979 was the last odds-on favorite to win the Kentucky Derby. Keep that in mind when you're getting ready to plunk down your two bucks on the next "sure thing".

And hold on to your betting slips until they get the winner to pee in a cup.

*********************

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