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Poised for Derby 'Invasion'

May 4, 2013 - Neil Rudel
It's Derby Day -- the best two minutes in sports -- and making a pick has become a tradition.

An obligatory tradition? Well, you can argue that.

Sitting near the photo desk at the Mirror the other day, chief photog J.D. Cavrich asked, "Who's your dad like in the Derby?"

Dave Rudel's legacy in local prognostication was etched in 2003 when he called for Funny Cide, a 15-1 longshot to prevail in the Derby.

Previously, I had been contacting local guru Glenn Stevens for his wisdom.

I like Glenn, but I love Dad so I I began using his prediction on the big races in some form -- notes column, blog, now maybe even Twitter.

Problem is the old man hasn't duplicated his 2003 magic and gets shorter and shorter on the phone about the subject each year. Here's a brief rundown of his last five Derby picks. Keep his mind he doesn't like going for the chalk favorites because, as he has taught me, "anybody can pick those."

2012: Creative Cause (finished fifth, one of Dad's better predictions in recent years).

2011: Uncle Mo (scratched after prediction hit cyber space)

2010: Line of David (couldn’t resist namesake; it finished 18th of 20)

2009: Hold Me Back (12th)

Based on this run, I'm surprised my dad was even taking calls this week, but he eagerly played along. The conversation went like this:


"Normandy Invasion," he said decisively.

Second in the Wood Memorial, Normandy was a 15-1 shot when Dad made the pick (Thursday night) and is down to a 12-1, still no higher than the fifth seed in the field.

"Why do you like him?"

"I have no idea. Who's your buddy Larry [McAleer] like?"

"I don't know, but this is one less horse he'll have to worry about!"

Enjoy the Derby and if you're having a party, don't mind an Invasion.

I am looking for: