Thursday, May 5, 2011

Keep The Flowers; Give Me $10 To Win On The One

--Andy Belfiore

   Ann Dudley summed up the feelings of many of her fellow expert handicappers when she took a look at this year’s Kentucky Derby field and said, “I am at a loss.”

   Oh. You may be asking, “Who is Ann Dudley?” She’s my mom.

   My folks took an interest in horse racing when I first headed to the racetrack, though they probably thought it was a phase; someday I’d outgrow it and get a real job. But, as I got more serious about the sport, their interest grew. When I left the backstretch and turned my attention to sports writing, my dad--a talented writer and the smartest guy I know--became my most trusted editor. And when they came to visit, we’d often head out for a day at the track. Before long, it became clear that my mom had a knack for picking winners.

Malcolm and Ann Dudley
   So, 17 years ago, I decided that, instead of sending flowers or candy on Mother’s Day, I’d bankroll her on Kentucky Derby Day. The idea was an instant hit. She took a look at the horses lining up for the 1994 “Run for the Roses” and put her Mother’s Day money down on Go for Gin. She liked the fact that his jockey Chris McCarron, who had won the Derby with Alysheba in 1987, was from her home state of Massachusetts. Sure enough, Go for Gin rolled along on the front end and sailed down the lane to win by two lengths at 9-1. Cha-ching!

   When our Mother’s Day tradition began, my mom would start checking out the stories on the sports page in the Boston Globe a week or two before the Derby. But she’s become quite a bit more sophisticated.

   “I checked out [Mike Welsch’s] videos [on] and got lots of info from them,” she explained. “I check the offical KD web site, TDN, and various newspapers. I like to look at the predictions and odds. Sometimes I just google KD and see what pops up. And, of course, I check dosage and Beyers.”

   There have been lean years, but she usually collects on a ticket or two. And she really scored when 6-1 Barbaro and 30-1 Bluegrass Cat combined for a $587 exacta in 2006. She had it two and a half times.

   Mom’s top choice this year is Arkansas Derby hero Archarcharch. She was however, a bit dismayed at the post position draw (which she TiVo’d). She dashed off an email as soon as she’d watched it.

   “I am really bummed out,” she wrote. “I kept waiting and waiting for my horse to get a good number in the draw. Darned if he didn't get the worst one on the board.”

   Of course, she also knew the success rate of the inside post in the Kentucky Derby (a co-high 12 wins, but none since Ferdinand in 1986).

   In the final analysis, she told me, “I look up to women on the track and do like to see them win. I listen to the experts, but I guess what it comes down to is that I pick the ones that appeal to me.”

   The experts would do well to check my mom’s Derby picks.

   She revealed yesterday, “Unless I get a sudden rush of blood to the head, my picks for the Derby are: 1-Archarcharch, 2-Dialed In, 3-Stay Thirsty and long shot pick Pants on Fire. Got my fingers crossed!”
   Me, too, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mais, chère, c'est si douce!!!!

Sharon LaFleur