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And Another Thing

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Your Derby pick for today

So now it's Derby Day, and loyal followers of the Blob ("Loyal?" you're sneering) know what means: The obligatory jokes.

Joke No. 1 is that I only know two horses. One is My Friend Flicka, and the other one isn't.

Joke No. 2 is that Mister Ed once had a wise-ass son named Mister Ted, who used to advise me on this stuff. But then he wised off one too many times, and now he's holding together some second-grader's art project.

Joke No. 3, the real joke, is that somewhere along the line I became the Horse Guy around here, which means I somehow, at some point, got on Churchill Downs mailing list. So now I have all this great info to pass along, like I'm Richer Than You Because I Can Buy A Horse walked the shedrow yesterday, and My Daddy Bought Me This Horse To Keep Me Out Of Jail breezed nine furlongs in (insert fractional number here).

I have no idea what any of that means, of course, being a Horse Guy who thinks a fetlock is what you put on your fets at night to keep them from being stolen. But I cheerfully pass it along anyway.

That's because deep down I love the Kentucky Derby, which goes to post at 6:32 p.m. today for the 140th time. I love the fact that there have been 140 of them, to start with. I love the twin spires. I love "My Old Kentucky Home." I love the hats, love that every year a drink I wouldn't serve to my worst enemy (the mint julep) gets ridiculously romanticized, love that NBC actually puts a reporter on a horse to interview the winning jockey.

And so, I'm here to tell you who to put your money on today.

I could go with the favorite, California Chrome, who has this wonderfully wacky owner (Steve Coburn) and a 77-year-old trainer (Art Sherman) who first showed up on Derby Day as the exercise rider for the great Swaps, and so is due. Or I could go with Danza, the Arkansas Derby winner, who goes to post in the No. 4 slot and has by all accounts been sharp all week (i.e., he's done a heck of a job walking the shedrow).

I could go with Vicar's In Trouble or We Miss Artie, on account of the first has Rosie Napravnik bidding to become the first woman jockey to win the Derby. And the second is a 50-1 shot, which appeals to my root-for-the-hopeless nature.

I could go with Ride On Curlin, because Calvin Borel's the jockey, and Calvin Borel winning the Derby is more fun than watching Sean Hannity trying to explain his bromance with that crazy rancher in Nevada. Or I could go with Intense Holiday, because it's a Louisville horse and a Louisville horse hasn't won its hometown's biggest event in 100 years.

But, no. I'm going with Wicked Strong instead.

I'm going with Wicked Strong because its name is a tribute to the victim's of last year's Boston Marathon bombings, and that, shall we say, is wicked cool. So is the fact that part of Wicked Strong's earnings go to help the families affected.

Wicked Strong comes out of the 20 hole today -- the very outside -- so he's got some work to do. But I like him anyway. He's a horse for his time, and I can never resist symmetry like that.

Here's my two bucks. I'm all in.

Ben Smith's blog.

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