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In Derby, Dad doesn't know best anymore

May 2, 2008 - Neil Rudel

When it comes to the Kentucky Derby, as faithful readers know, I've long been forced to lean on my family.

First it was my Uncle Herb, who upon retirement to Florida, began paying the light bill at Gulfstream. On visits to see my grandparents, I would accompany and watch him memorize the Racing Form.

My dad, Dave Rudel, knew enough about it to be dangerous as well and picked Funny Cide out of the blue in 2003 to win the Derby.

Since then, he got a little gunshy, probably from having his name in the Mirror, and he's been well, off stride, in the last four years. His '07 prediction, NoBizLikeShowBiz, still hasn't left the gate.

So he's kind of backed off for this year, plus his local paper (OK, it's the Tribune-Democrat) hasn't been running the odds (another reason to buy the Mirror) so he's really flying blind.

Anyhoo, my dad is loyal to Big Brown, the heavy favorite who will probably go off at even money. Dad rarely takes the frontrunner but my brother Mark works for UPS so there are obviously new rules this year.

Since, as dad has always said, "anybody can pick the favorite," I'm going outside the family for real expertise.

Glenn Stevens, having attended many of the Triple Crown races and worked around the stables, may be the most knowledgable horse racing guru in Blair County.

Glenny, knowing I like the Funny Cide-like flyers, has coached me into a pair of 20-1 shots -- Visionaire and Smooth Air. Visionaire is particularly intriguing since it's prepped by Barbaro's trainer, Michael Matz, and is a closer. A more conservative pick, he said, would be Pyro at 6-1.

Hang your hat on those three, in order, and good luck.



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