HRR

My Most Memorable Kentucky Derby

Horse Racing Radar
Rich Bieglmeier
Rich Bieglmeier is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Sunday, April 25, 2021

My most memorable Kentucky Derby was 2005 when GIACOMO won at 50-1 and paid $102.60. Notice that I did not say favorite Kentucky Derby race, most memorable. It's one I'll never forget as my horseracing version of an eternal fishing tale, the big one that got away.

At the time, I was working in finance, selling financial data to money managers and hedge funds. Many lunchbreaks were spent at the OTB on Franklin and Jackson, in the shadow of the Sears' Tower. I made sure to spend one afternoon with the OTB's lunch special on the first day the Kentucky Derby DRF forms were available.

I poured through the past performances and kept landing on CLOSING ARGUMENT (who went off at 71-1) as a horse I was certain would finish in the money. He may have won had he not bobbled at the start and raced nine wide. It would have ruined TVG Ken Rudulph's day and one of his most popular YouTube videos.


My final six horses consisted of GIACOMO, CLOSING ARGUMENT, AFLEET ALEX, WILKO, BANDINI and BELLAMY ROAD, who went off as the favorite.

One of my Kentucky Derby betting strategies is to find prices that can hit the board. Those super-sized money pools produce some fat tickets when shots finish in the first three. Many times, I construct my wagers not so much on the winner but focusing on the longshots while packaging potential winners together.

I crafted my trifecta ticket. If memory serves, it was $240 for $2. I asked my regular OTB office lunch buddy if he wanted to spilt the ticket with me on Oaks day at Franklin and Jackson. He said, "no".  The next day, I was scheduled to fly to Germany. I had a pocket full of tickets from Friday's Oaks lunch special and a few I needed to cash. My plan was to go to the OTB, cash the tickets, watch a few races and then race to O'Hare with the family.

You kind of know where this is going now, don't you?

Derby Day came, sunny and beautiful in Chicago; bags were packed; everything was in order; just needed to get out of the house for an hour. Then the, "we need... can you run to the stores" started. The clock was ticking.

Unfortunately, I didn't have an online account and there wasn't time to open one. Besides, I didn't need one. Jackson and Franklin was a five-minute walk from the office, make my bets, put the tickets in my pocket and watch from the office or home. It's better that way; win, cash your tickets and money is in your hand and not the mail.

T-minus an hour until post-time and taxi pickup time. Time to hustle, but no... I can't remember the reason why. Sometimes it's hard to remember stuff you don't want to remember. Fast forward a little, TV is on, taxi is two-minutes to post and the gates open.



They finish GIACOMO, CLOSING ARGUMENT, AFLEET ALEX. It's not official as I hear, "the taxi is here." Bags in hand, everybody is out the door and I get a "hurry up, let's go." Race goes official, prices are announced: the $2 trifecta paid: $133,134.80. Instantly, my eyes swelled with tears, but I held them back.

That was the longest taxi trip and seven-hour flight of my life and most my memorable Kentucky Derby. It's also the only Derby that I haven't bet on in the last 33-years. I guess I am the anti-Ken Rudulph.

They finish GIACOMO, CLOSING ARGUMENT, AFLEET ALEX. It's not official as I hear, "the taxi is here." Bags in hand, everybody is out the door and I get a "hurry up, let's go." Race goes official, prices are announced: the $2 trifecta paid: $133,134.80. Instantly, my eyes swelled with tears, but I held them back.

That was the longest taxi trip and seven-hour flight of my life and most my memorable Kentucky Derby. It's also the only Derby that I haven't bet on in the last 33-years. I guess I am the anti-Ken Rudulph.


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