“A 10-hour party to celebrate a two-minute race.” -- Kegasus, Lord of the Pimlico Infield.
The race may only be about two minutes long, but everything from 2:30 PM on is televised on VS. and then on NBC. Nothing is more exciting than watching your horse battling down the stretch in race after race. At least that’s usually the case. But this Saturday there will a grand finale that even tops your horse battling to a photo finish win at odds of 50-1.
Fundamentalist Christian Preacher and radio show host, the 89-year old Harold Camping, who has had more wrong end-of-world predictions than Newt Gingrich has had bad marriages, this time predicts the coming of the Apocalypse will be timed to coincide with the horses hitting the finish line in the Preakness. Now that’s real excitement. (Eat your heart out Kentucky.) This time, Camping is sure he’s correct. His reasoning is that, according to the Old Testament, God told Noah, "Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made."
So how does that relate to this Saturday at 6:20 PM Eastern? It seems the Bible also says, “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." That could simply mean that God is infinite and timeless, but Camping gives it a much more literal interpretation. According to Camping, when God spoke to Noah, He could have meant either 7 actual days or 7000 years. No one, after all, beats God when it comes to speaking imprecisely, except maybe the Gypsy fortune-teller lady above the deli near my office.
The flood occurred in 4990 BC. Exactly 7000 years later to the minute, we come to the scheduled finish of the 136th Preakness. Wait! Don’t we know God meant 7 actual days and not 7000 years because he instructed Noah to build an ark and gather the animals, and presumably God knew that Noah wouldn’t be around to do that in 2011? The Bible also tells us that the promised flood actually occurred seven days later back in the time of Noah. That’s fairly strong evidence that God did not mean 7000 years. But hey, why quibble? What’s a bit of logic and evidence compared to the $14 million in contributions Camping has raised for himself with this latest end-of-world prediction, and the $70 million fortune he has amassed with all his incorrect pronouncements combined?
Camping and his followers apparently interpret the Bible statement about a day being as 1000 years to God to mean that God lacks the intellectual capacity to tell the difference, and will do the whole world destruction thing all over again this Saturday just to be sure he wasn’t ahead of schedule the first time. Plus, after 7000 years, God has probably forgotten all about Noah and the first destruction of all living things. After all, 7000 years may be like 7 days to God, but its still a long time when it comes to memory. We remember Noah because we keep reading the story in the Bible. But the Bible was written by God for men, and not men for God, so God doesn’t read it. Thus, expect God is going to do the Noah thing all over again as the horses hit the finish line in the Preakness.
Forget about global warming. It’s global raining that will be the real problem. If the track is sloppy, we’re all in trouble.
But there is a bright side to all of this. Despite what the great god Kegasus, Lord of the Infield, says, the last day of life on earth makes a much better excuse than a mere 2-minute race to throw a final knock-‘em-dead blast.
And what better to top off a great Last Party, than going out a winner? This is truly your last chance to get even. With that in mind, you’ll want the surest pick you can get today. To help you, below is my analysis of the Preakness pretenders and contenders, followed by my WORLD ENDING BET OF ALL TIME.
You can’t pick winners without recognizing the losers. Identify the losers, and the winners will take care of themselves. I list the Pretenders first, followed by the Contenders, all in no particular order, and concluding with the piece de resistance, my WORLD ENDING BET OF ALL TIME.
1. NORMAN ASBJORNSON No, that’s not the name of the jockey. It’sthe name of the horse. I can’t wait until the track announcer has to give this horse a call. Picture this one in a stretch duel running head to head with one or more other contenders:
“ Coming to the wire, across the track, nothing between them, in a full out drive, it’s Animal Kingdom, Dialed In and Norman Asa. . Asba. . .Azerbajan. . . er Ahmadinejad. . . oh hell, it’s a photo finish, too close to call between Animal Kingdom, Dialed In and Norman.”
That stretch call will never happen. The fix is in. The track announcer is a union member. This horse will be nowhere in the stretch unless they change his name before the race.
So who is the real Norman Asbjornson? He’s the CEO of an air conditioning and refrigeration company. What else would you expect for a guy with a Scandinavian last name? See how smart gambling can make you? I’ll bet there isn’t a single graduate in the past 10-years from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Duke or MIT who knows what Norman Asbjornson does for a living.
The real question: When will RJ part with $200,000 from pocket change, buy himself a couple of good- looking colts at Keeneland, name them “Pregame” and “RJ Bell,” and win the Triple Crown? Just think of the publicity. RJ could become even more famous than Norman Asbjornson.
2. ISN’T HE PERFECT? NO, he isn’t! That is, unless you consider that he’s grown up to be a perfect embarrassment to his parents.
3. SWAY AWAY The name says it all. Swayed away from the Kentucky Derby by insufficient graded stakes earnings, he should have stayed away for this race.
4. CONCEALED IDENTITY
This homebred Maryland specialist has a great pedigree. Pimlico is his home track. That’s no small advantage. Thoroughbred horses are notoriously skittish, and they don’t like travel or new surroundings. Unfortunately, this horse doesn’t seem to have inherited the super talent of his father, Smarty Jones, and his home-court edge alone won’t be enough for him to beat this bunch. The downside of being at home is that it will hard for the horse’s connections to conceal their identities when the race is over.
On the upside, maybe we’ll get to see him prance around when they play the new, hip version of “Maryland, My Maryland,” written by Jay Z, originally recorded by Jay Z and Alicia Keys, and now sung this Saturday by the 16-year old niece of somebody in power at Pimlico, before the TV viewers are saved by a cut to commercial in the middle of the song. (Take that, Belmont)
5. KING CONGIE
Another one with insufficient graded stakes earnings to qualify for the Derby, this race won’t help that record any. His problem is all in his name. If they had named him “King Crowne” he’d be a champ.
6. MIDNIGHT INTERLUDE
The horse with the sexy name and hot trainer. He finished 16th in the Kentucky Derby beating only 2 out of 18 opponents. Sure Baffert is a great trainer, but Baffert isn’t the one running around the track. Don’t forget, Baffert also trained him two weeks ago when he was in a race for last. For a better chance at a midnight interlude, take the money you would have bet on this one, buy your favorite hottie a gift, with it, and see what develops. If you don’t have a favorite hottie, try renting a hotel room, lay the money on the bed, wait until the maid comes in, and then run naked at her from the bathroom. The latter idea may not have a great history of working, but it’s still a better shot than a bet on the nose of this horse.
7. MR. COMMONS
He finished third, just 2 ½ lengths off the winner in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. Unfortunately, the winner was Midnight Interlude (see above). Breaking from the #14 slot on a track with tight turns removes any doubt this one won’t lose.
(Again in No Particular Order)
1. ANIMAL KINGDOM
Will have a huge drop in odds from the Derby, he’ll probably one of three favorites along with Dialed In and Shackelford. Bred to run on grass, this colt’s first race on dirt was the Kentucky Derby. The closest he came to a dirt track before Kentucky was a synthetic course victory at Turfway Park. The big question: Was his Derby performance due to the fact that he does better on dirt despite his breeding, or simply racing luck in a 19-horse race?
2. DIALED IN
The favorite in the Kentucky Derby, he lost all chance when getting off to a slow start and running at the back of the huge Derby field before rallying to finish 8th. His time for the final half-mile in the Derby was the best of the entire field, however. A better start, a smaller field of horses, and an expected faster pace than the Derby could find him running the way everyone expected two weeks ago. He beat Shackleford in the Grade 1 Florida Derby..
This front runner led from the gate into deep stretch in the Derby, before finishing fourth, only 3 ½ lengths behind the winner. Dialed In caught him by a head in the Florida Derby. He drew a great post for this race, and he’ll definitely be part of the stretch call. If he can avoid a speed duel with Dance City and Flash Point, he could hold on to win. If he gets pressed at the front, however, he may fade again.
4. DANCE CITY This front-running speedster keeps getting better. If the track comes up sloppy on Saturday, he’ll be able to handle it. Has a definite chance to surprise at a price that will have you dancing at the cashier’s window, but he’s got to avoid contesting the pace with Shackelford and Flash Point.
5. MUCHO MACHO MAN
This guy was in traffic all they way in the Derby, had to go five wide, and still closed despite the slow pace to finish 3rd. He’s improved greatly as a 3-year old and the smaller field could see him giving those with a win ticket a gay finish.
By the way, did you see how old the Village People looked on Derby Day? Anyway, at least they didn’t call this contender Queen.
He’s a Gemini. That means he could be good or bad on Saturday. If Libra is in the house of Leo, this one could roar, but, if she’s in the House of Kegasus, somebody may get screwed. Probably won’t win, but could be in the exotics.
This one has looked like a champ from his first lifetime start until he could do no better than 4th in the Florida Derby, eight lengths behind both Dialed In and Shackleford. He appears to need to run on the lead, but it was Shackelford who got the lead in the Florida Derby. If he gets into a speed duel, he’ll probably come out the worst of it again, but if they let him get the lead watch out.
The other question mark for Flashpoint is a change of trainer from Rick Dutrow, Jr. to Wesley Ward. This will be the horse’s first race since the trainer change. A change of barns can make a huge difference in the way a horse performs. It could be better and it could be worse.
WORLD ENDING BET OF ALL TIME
FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE in a no finish
I’m taking every dime out of the bank, adding it to everything I can borrow, and making the bet of my lifetime that the FOUR HORSEMEN are either scratched before the race or breakdown before the finish line. It’s a win-win situation. If I’m wrong, and those four guys do win the race, my losses won’t matter, and I’ll never have to pay back the debts. If I’m right, on the other hand, I’ll have an even larger fortune than Harold Camping. Either way, I’ll be in heaven.
If your banker isn’t offering odds on the Four Horsemen, then your best chance of enjoying the party will be to stay away from the pretenders and pick among the contenders listed above, or you might consider boxing all seven contenders in 10-cent Superfectas and root against Animal Kingdom. .