Strangers to our little town on the river are prone to notice some of the eccentricities displayed by Louisville folk, when the first weekend in May rolls around. Sedate, conservative gentlemen, suddenly appear wearing outlandish clothing, in pastel shades of pink, blue, and aqua. And ladies, who would not be caught dead wearing a hat on any of the 51 other weeks of the year, can be observed walking around under chapeaux only slightly smaller that beach umbrellas.
But the one thing that appears all but universal among Louisvillians at Derby time, is their professed expertise at handicapping horse races. Apparently, living and working within 20 miles' proximity to Churchill Downs imbues natives with extraordinary powers of equine prognostication. If you're born and bred in Louisville, you must certainly know something about picking Derby winners, right? Right.
People who have never been closer to a thoroughbred colt than the front of a 2-dollar betting window--and who wouldn't know a Racing Form from a TARC schedule--will gladly share with you their sure-fired picks for the Oaks and Derby. Some will tell you that they got inside information, from a friend of a friend who lives next door to the guy who cuts Calvin Borel's hair. Others will claim that they meticulously and scientifically study past performances, workout times, speed ratings, and something called dosage (don't ask).
In point of fact, most folks use what real scientists refer to as the SWAG method: A Sophisticated Wild-Assed Guess. Picking the winner of a horserace requires no more skill than picking your nose; and the results are usually about the same.
With this in mind, we scouted around Louisville Metro Government; to find out if any of our local officials would share their executive insight with us. These good folks are working around the clock to make it a safe and successful Kentucky Derby week; but that doesn’t mean they're not enjoying it, too. Here are a few Derby picks from Metro Government:
Louisville Division of Fire Chief Greg Frederick has tabbed Goldencents as his top choice, followed by Orb and Java’s War.
Public Health and Wellness Director, Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt predicts that Palace Malice will take the roses, followed by Overanalyze and Lines of Battle.
And, after spending this morning on the backside watching the horses and crunching the data, Mayor Greg Fischer is going with a win/place/show forecast of Verrazano, Revolutionary and Orb.
There you have it. Expert advice from three of Louisville's top civic leaders. And, if you bet the farm on Verrazano to win Derby 139--and for some unforeseen reason he loses steam in the stretch--you can reach Mayor Fischer at (502) 574-2003.
Photo Credits: Office of Louisville Metro Mayor