As usual, we turned to Thistledown publicist Bob (Railbird) Roberts for his Kentucky Derby Pick and here it is.
Sidney's Candy 5-1
Bob had a gaudy reputation as a skilled handicapper when he was the racing writer for The Plain Dealer in his previous life. Remember that in 1993 he picked Sea Hero and he had back-to-back winners in 2006 and 2007 with Barbaro and Street Sense. One of his great triumphs was picking Lemon Drop Kid to win the 1999 Belmont Stakes at 30-1.
So, why Sidney's Candy in this year's Derby?
"I'm a big workout guy," Roberts explained. "I like to see a horse get to Churchill Downs early and get a feel for the track. He's had two sensational workouts. He's feeling good and likes the track."
That is important because this will be his first race on dirt. Sidney's Candy has been campaigning on artificial surfaces in California. He won the Santa Anita Derby to give him a record of four wins and one second in six starts.
Roberts says he doesn't like the number 20 post position, but Sidney's Candy has too many other things to like.
The horse is owned by Jenny Craig of weight losing fame. She named it after her husband, Sidney, who died not long ago.
His second choice is Paddy O'Prado at 20-1. This horse was second in the Bluegrass. He also has had quick workouts and he is trained by Dale Romans who does well at Churchill Downs. Paddy O'Prado is starting in the middle of the field from the number 10 post position.
Roberts' third pick is Mission Impazible, also at 20-1, starting from the number 14 gate. Trainer Todd Pletcher has four horses in this race and this could be the best of them. Mission Impazible won the Louisiana Derby, his first race under Jamaican jockey Rajiv (Rod) Maragh who had a great winter riding at Gulfstream and continued his hot streak this spring at Keeneland.
To complete his ticket, Roberts picks 3-1 favorite Lookin At Lucky who drew the unfavorable number one post position.
"I'll box the four of them in the exacta, trifecta and super tri," said Roberts. "If they come through in that order I'll buy a box of your books."
If they finish that way I'll take the Railbird to dinner at the Baricelli Inn because I'm going to do the same thing.
Thistledown windows are open all day Friday for advance wagering on the Derby. I'll be out there in the afternoon to pick up a fistful of tickets. That's all for now. Good luck.
This article reprinted from CoughlinUnplugged.com, through a partnership between Dan Coughlin and The Cleveland Leader. To read more of his writing, visit his website.