2023 Kentucky Derby Recap: From Chaos Comes Clarity
Want to read a Kentucky Derby recap that has very little to do with the race? If so, I’ve got just the ticket.
(Editor’s note: Uh oh.)
(Writer’s retort: Come on. It’s me. You knew this was going to be weird.)
I did a ton of Kentucky Derby content leading up to Saturday. Catena Media allowed me to get my hands dirty on a bunch of sites within the company’s portfolio, and I’m grateful to them for that. I love my job, and I very much enjoy collaborating with some of the best co-workers (and friends) one can ask for.
I did a ton outside of my day job, too. You may have heard me on a few podcasts, and if you were in Ithaca or Albany (two of my former places of residence), you may have heard me on local sports radio affiliates, too. I woke up on Saturday morning bright and early, fully prepared to compile everything into one nice, neat package.
And then Forte scratched, and everything came crashing down.
Not literally, of course. Life goes on. However, with that scratch, almost every piece of content I conceived, produced, edited, and/or published the prior four or five days became irrelevant.
You may have seen a few social media posts from me in that vein that hinted I wasn’t in a great mood. As I told a few family members and close friends, I was absolutely devastated, and not because Forte wasn’t running.
There’s no worse feeling than seeing a lot of hard work fueled by passion go down the drain. I spent the entire week touting Forte enthusiastically, so everything that enthusiasm touched was instantly rendered obsolete.
(Quick note: If the vets determined Forte shouldn’t have run, then he shouldn’t have run. It’s truly as simple as that, so please don’t put words in my mouth.)
I audibled reasonably well the morning of the race. I put out a revised betting strategy, and if you acted on it, you came out ahead. Mage was my third choice, but a win bet at overlaid odds proved profitable. My exactas were toast, so I didn’t get rich, but I’ve had far, far worse Derbies.
After the race, a tweet of mine went around pretty quickly. I said Forte would have stomped that group, and I sincerely believe that. He’s beaten Mage twice already, and I don’t see a reason a healthy version of him couldn’t have done so again this weekend. I hope we’ll get a chance to see him sooner rather than later, ideally at an overlaid price.
The interactions that followed, though, gave me a lot of insight into my feelings and motivations. For as much bluster, pompousness, and ego my detractors (and there are many, for reasons passing understanding…) will claim I have, I genuinely enjoy going back and forth with about 90 to 95 percent of horse racing Twitter. I’ll talk shop in any setting anyone wants, and more often than not, I’ll genuinely enjoy it.
I was miserable most of Derby Day, and not because a horse I was excited to bet wasn’t going to run. It was because I put a lot of my spare energy into creating content for horseplayers to digest and enjoy, and I do it because there’s no better feeling than using my knowledge and insight to help someone else make money.
It’s why I keep doing all of this stuff on top of a day job I very much enjoy. I’m not getting rich off of these passion projects, and that’s not the point. The things I do in horse racing are because I want to do them, and because, over the years, there’s enough evidence to support the idea that I know what I’m talking about (you might have heard about Lord Miles…).
Saratoga’s in two months. I’ll be back in the pages of The Pink Sheet and online on this very site with full-card analysis, selections, and bankroll plays. Before that is the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton. I’ll be in Europe for the first week of that meet, but most weekends, I’ll be co-hosting handicapping seminars just outside the grandstand that preview each day of racing action at the Northern California fair track.
In the meantime, you can keep checking this site and my social media platforms. I’m an easy guy to find. If you’ve got any ideas for content, or just something you’d like to see, use the “contact” function. I see everything that comes through.
To those that enjoy what I do, thank you. You’re a large part of why I’m still able to do it.