The Kentucky Derby has produced great champions (Secretariat), great literature (?The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved? by Hunter S. Thompson) and, for some shrewd handicappers, great windfalls.
Need help figuring out who?s going to run out front in today?s 20-horse field? We asked some horse racing insiders, and fans, from around the Empire for their picks:
Sonoma County Fair Horse Racing Writer
Predictions: </b>1. General Quarters: Everyone likes an underdog story. 2. Chocolate Candy: A homer pick for Hollendorfer. 3. Atomic Rain: Call it a gut feeling for this 50-1 shot. Or indigestion.
Press Democrat horse racing expert
Predictions: </b>It?s hard not to like I Want Revenge, but favorites rarely do well in this race. I?ll use I Want Revenge with Pioneerof the Nile, who has two wins over the favorite. Dunkirk should improve here and Friesan Fire will be especially tough because of the recent rains. Mr. Hot Stuff is my longshot choice.
Author of ?Seabiscuit?
Predictions: </b>Hillenbrand said she followed the pre-Derby races, but not too closely. She picked General Quarters to win the Blue Grass, and he did. Quality Road and I Want Revenge impressed her also. Quality Road is out, so we?ll give her General Quarters and I Want Revenge.
Santa Rosa High track coach
Predictions: </b>?Everyone seems so hot on I want Revenge, who couldn't handle Pioneerof the Nile in California on the poly and Pioneerof the Nile nearly bullets his five-furlong work breezing. Chocolate Candy is one that will thrive on the Derby distance. And look at all of the other Derby prep races. Papa Clem, another California flyaway, wins his eastern Prep. That Chocolate Candy and Pioneerof the Nile have taken so well to the Churchill Downs dirt says that they should be the two to beat, as they have already shown themselves to be versatile running on the poly at Santa Anita. Mr Hot Stuff looks like something special too. It could be the year of the West and the Western escapees.?
<b>Mrs. Barbara Walter
Owner of 1996 Kentucky Derby runner-up Cavonnier
Predictions: </b>?I?ve narrowed it down to five. Of course, I like I Want Revenge and Pioneerof the Nile like everyone else. I?m also looking at Papa Clem, Regal Ransom and Dunkirk. (Of course, her first pick is always Cavonnier, who she says is out giving the yearlings some sage advice).?
Santa Rosa horse trainer
Predictions:</b> ?I?m going to shoot for the stars and throw out the top two picks. I?m picking a trifecta box of longshots with Papa Clem, Chocolate Candy, Friesan Fire and Musket Man.?
Analy boys? soccer coach
Predictions: </b>?I?m picking a superfecta of Pioneer of the Nile, Chocolate Candy, Dunkirk and Regal Ransom.?
Horse Racing handicapper
Predictions:</b> ?There are several feel-good stories in this Derby. But, what makes anyone feel better than chocolate? Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer finally gets to smell the roses. Chocolate Candy will have plenty of speed up front to set up his late-running style. Adding Mike Smith, one of the most patient riders in the business, is the key. I just feel bad for Russell (Baze).?
Santa Rosa philanthropist and horse lover
Predictions: </b>?I like Chocolate Sundae, no it?s Chocolate Candy. He?s a fine horse.?
Golden Gate Fields TV host
Prediction:</b> I Want Revenge.
Retired jockey (3,546 career wins, including four Santa Anita Derbys)
Predictions: </b>I Want Revenge really impressed me with the race in New York. He was put in a bad spot and bounced out of it to win. Papa Clem would be my sentimental choice.