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May 4, 2001

by Bill Hogan



If it's the first weekend in May, it must be time for the 127th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville.

The most exciting two minutes in sports (unless you're Secretariat (1973), then it's a mere 1:59).

The "Run for the Roses".


The first leg of the coveted Triple Crown.

I get excited about watching (and betting on) the Kentucky Derby. I have a hunch you do, too.

I have a hunch that there will be more than a few Derby parties going on come post-time Saturday. No self-respecting host would have a Kentucky Derby party without serving the celebrated drink of choice, the Mint Julep.

I have a hunch you haven't done your homework so, here is the recipe for creating that sweet, green concoction and a great party experience.

INGREDIENTS: 2 cups sugar, 2 cups water, sprigs of fresh mint, crushed ice, Kentucky bourbon and fancy julep serving cups. Thenů

1) Mix sugar, water, fresh mint sprigs and crushed ice in a large punch bowl. Open back door and place bowl on porch. Your pets will love it.

2) Take the fancy julep serving cups and stow them in a safe place before your guests arrive.

3) Place the bottle of Kentucky bourbon and a set of jelly glasses on a snack table next to a keg of ice cold beer. Party on!

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.

Football fans with no knowledge of horse racing scored big with Forward Pass in 1968.

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.

This year's field is full of potential hunch bets.

Myself, if I wake up Saturday morning with bad case of gas (again), I'll certainly throw eight bits on Millennium Wind.

Old N.Y. Knicks fans, and New Jersey liberals are sure to back Dollar Bill.

Real racing buffs, with a reverence for the "Sport of Kings", can't go wrong with Monarchos.

I have a hunch that long shot Jamacian Rum will get a lot of late action from among the Pina Colada and Daiquiri drinkers left standing at post-time.

A P Valentine is a natural for the romantic and the college basketball fan (Rick Pitino is part owner of the 15-1 3-year-old).

Songandaprayer will get play from the die-hard college basketball fan (former Duke point guard Bobby Hurley has an owners share).

If you'd prefer to take a more scientific approach with your two dollars, here's a piece of advice: watch all the pre-race television analysts. Listen to what they have to say about the top six or seven horses. If there is a horse that they ALL agree doesn't have a chance - BET THE RANCH!

I have a hunch you'll be happy you did.

Watch the race, it's a sure thing that you'll enjoy it.


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