The Official US Racing Kentucky Derby Drinking Game

Man with DrinkFor a race that takes roughly two minutes, the pre-race Kentucky Derby coverage on NBC will be four hours long. That is a lot of time to fill. With a full field, that would be 12 minutes devoted to each horse!

If you are like me, there isn’t anything that the commentators are going to say that will change your mind about your betting choices for the race. Yet, you probably feel compelled to watch the marathon of coverage anyway, right?

You may wonder, what is the best, most fun way to make the time pass?

By playing drinking games of course!

We all know there will be topics of conversation and specific phrases that will get beat to death during the broadcast, so why not have some fun with it? So, grab your favorite drink — water, lemonade or another refreshing beverage of choice — and let’s play!

Take one drink if:

  • You hear the term “wise-guy” horse. (What was the last one that won? Sea Hero in 1993 comes to mind, but the definition will vary from player to player.)
  • You hear the commentators question whether or not a certain horse “can get the distance.”(It is the first time trying 1 ¼ miles for all the horses and Dosage seems to mean less and less each year, so it is harder to speculate on pedigree alone.)
  • You hear “the first Saturday in May.” (It is… all day. Thanks for reminding us, again.)
  • You hear “the fastest two minutes in sports.”(Granted it seems like an eternity when you are watching your horse get to the wire.)
  • You see a woman in an outrageous hat. (Enough is enough — I’d hate to have to sit behind that thing!)
  • The camera focuses on the twin spires. (Hey, it is either the spires or another absurd hat, right?)
  • Someone mentions that no horse has ever won from post 17.

Take two drinks if:

  • The track conditions are discussed and how it will help/hinder a specific horse. (Like for Goldilocks, this track is too fast, this track is too sloppy, but this track is just right.)
  • Apollo is discussed. He was the last horse to win the Kentucky Derby without racing as a two-year-old in 1882. (Magnum Moon and Justify will draw this comparison).

Take three drinks if:

  • You see a man in an outrageous hat. (Wow. Just wow. Johnny Weir will be so jealous!)
  • When they start singing “My Old Kentucky Home”. Take an extra drink if you know the lyrics. (I will admit that this is one of my favorite parts leading up to the race.)

Finish the bottle or glass if:

  • You hear a celebrity offer an opinion on the race. (It is also mandatory to roll your eyes first.)

Drink a mint julep if:

  • You pick the 2018 Kentucky Derby winner! It isn’t an easy race to handicap, and even if you handicap it perfectly, there are a lot of chances for horses to have bad trips (12 of the 20 starters in 2017 showed some sort of a troubled trip in their running line).

Have another mint julep if:

No sooner will the Kentucky Derby winner cross the wire than the speculation on whether it can win the Preakness in two weeks will begin. After all there have been 35 horses that have won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in 141 years where this was possible (from 1875 on, except for 1917 and 1922 when the Kentucky Derby and Preakness ran on the same day).

Is it worth opening another bottle in two weeks?

Ray Wallin
Ray Wallin is a licensed civil engineer and part-time handicapper who has had a presence on the Web since 2000 for various sports and horse racing websites and through his personal blog. Introduced to the sport over the course of a misspent teenage summer at Monmouth Park by his Uncle Dutch, a professional gambler, he quickly fell in love with racing and has been handicapping for over 25 years.

Ray’s background in engineering, along with his meticulous nature and fascination with numbers, parlay into his ability to analyze data; keep records; notice emerging trends; and find new handicapping angles and figures. While specializing in thoroughbred racing, Ray also handicaps harness racing, Quarter Horse racing, baseball, football, hockey, and has been rumored to have calculated the speed and pace ratings on two squirrels running through his backyard.

Ray likes focusing on pace and angle plays while finding the middle ground between the art and science of handicapping. When he is not crunching numbers, Ray enjoys spending time with his family, cheering on his alma mater (Rutgers University), fishing, and playing golf.

Ray’s blog, which focuses on his quest to make it to the NHC Finals while trying to improve his handicapping abilities can be found at www.jerseycapper.blogspot.com Ray can also be found on Twitter (@rayw76) and can be reached via email at ray.wallin@live.com.

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