Weekend Racing end Sports Preview $$$$

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Birmingham Winning Weekend Report

The Big Apple is the stop this week on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. The Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct showcases New York’s aspiring Derby candidates. The Gotham also serves as a stepping stone to the major Empire State Derby prep, the Wood Memorial.

The good news is, the winner of the Gotham usually makes an appearance in Louisville on the first Saturday in May. The bad news, it’s been 40 years since a Gotham victor has captured the a Derby. The year was 1973, the horse who won it… Secretariat.

New York based trainer Richard Violette will send out the favorite, the unbeaten Samraat. The colt staged a duel in his latest win, the Withers Stakes. Samraat and Zunvle Sigh match up again today and figure to command most betting attention.

Watch out for Financial Mogul, coming out of the Holy a Bull at Gulfstream. Also, Todd Pletcher, who has a contender in every 3-year old race, is present again with the dangerous Harpoon.

Two early speedsters could menace. Deceived and Extrasexyhipzster rate a big look.

Gotham Forecast
Aqueduct (B’ham Post 3:17 Saturday)
2 Financial Mogul
3 Uncle Sigh
6 Deceived

Also. Catch the Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Saturday. Not usually a platform for a Derby launches but very important this year with the inclusion of highly heralded Havana making his 2014 debut. He runs into a tough customer here in No Nay Never. Pletcher’s Havana, a superqstar two year old, is still regarded by many as the most talented in this year’s crop of 3 year olds.

Birmingham Greyhound a Racing
Weekend Best Bets
Friday Night
Race 6 #8 Charismatic Kara
Race 8 #7 Lunar Landing
Race12 #8 Coach Quinton
Saturday Matinee
Race 3 #8 Messy Missy
Race 5 #2 CTW Great Scott
Race 9 #8 CTW Whisper Soft
Saturday Night
Race 5 #1 Quirky Brienne
Race 10 #8 Coach Quinn
Race 16 #5 Flying Hayfield

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10 Things You Should Know About Me

1. I have never, ever mistreated any person.
2. I love and am so proud of my sons. While I marvel at their attributes and accomplishments, the fact they are such outstanding people is the most impactful.
3. I have had the same best friends for over40 years. I don’t see them enough and my inability to play golf any longer is going to exacerbate that separation.
4. I have reached a new level of maturity recently. I no longer become agitated over things I cannot control.
5. I consider myself the world’s greatest under achiever. I was capable of so much more.
6. I think. Have handled the extremely devastating loss of 90% of my vision far better than I would have forecast. I am proud of myself for finding a way to manage my day to day routine despite it being extremely challenging.
7. I would give anything to understand why despite a vastly diverse and specialized skill set, I am taken for granted and largely unrecognized in my various career pursuits. It is a flaw I would repair if I knew what it was. I suspect it is a combination of two factors. I am too nice a person and handle things easily with seemingly little effort which gives the appearance that I am not a hard worker.
8. i am extremely generous and a great tipper.
9. I feel invalidated and despondent because almost exclusively, women I have loved have not loved me. I believed in Once Upon A Time and Happily Ever Afrer. That belief has not come to pass.
10. At this stage…. I BELIEVE!! My faith is resilient and has survived. I am serene and peaceful. I no longer am paddling furiously upstream. Now, I am drifting and will go where the current takes me.

$$$$ Action Update

WINNING WEEKEND $$$$
Major Weekend Stakes Highlight Horse Racing Lineup

The road to the Kentucky Derby goes through Hallandale Beach, Florida and New Orleans, Louisiana.
At Gulfstream, the Fountain of Youth stakes is scheduled to break from the gate in a Race 11 at 4:33 Birmingham time. The significance of this race? Last year, this race was won by Orb. The Shug McGaughey star went on to also triumph in the Florida Derby and then the big one in Kentucky.
Six time Eclipse Award winning trainer Todd Pletcher holds a full hand of 2014 a Derby contenders. His ace goes in the Zfountain of Youth as Commissiiner makes his stakes debut from post number one. He has already won two races longer than a mile and has Hall of a Fame rider Zjihn Valazquez in the saddle. Commissioner defeated one of Saturday’s primary rivals. McGaughey sends out Top Billing(12) ridden by Joel Rosario. The youngsters staged a compelling stretch duel last December at Churchill Downs. Top a Billing, foes his best running late and his connections will hope got a fast pace up front.
Other notable, dangerous, upset minded runners entered in the 13 horse field include…Dale Roman’s #3 Medal Count, an accomplished runner and great hunch play with the. Olympics going on now, Wildcat Red(4) and General A Rod(5)

Another big field lines up at Fair Grounds in the Risen Star Stakes. The race is scheduled to send 14 colts to the post. The two most heralded of the group are #2 Rise Up and Vicar’s In Trouble(14).
Rise Up has the most earnings in the bank of all three year old contenders. He won the$1 Million Delta Jackot in December. Vicar’s In Trouble destroyed his foes in the LeComte stakes at Fair Grounds. Rosie Napravnik, one of America’s top riders, is back aboard.
That guy Todd Pletcher is ever present here as well with Intense Holiday(9) Mike Smith, a Hall of Fame jockey flies in from California which gives this experienced runner instant credence. Same applies for rider Cory Nakatani aboard Gold Hawk(4). And a final California connection as colorful SoCal based handler Bob Baffert ships in #8 Hoppertunity. If the Sesotho eligible, #15 Emmet Zpark gets in the race, do not ignore him.

Kip’s Piks
Gulfstream 11 Fountain of Youth 4:33 pm
1 Commissioner
5 General A Rod
12 Top Billing

Fair Grounds Risen Star 6:25 pm
9 intense Holiday
2 Rise Up
4 Gold Hawk

Birmingham Weekend Preview/Picks
Friday : Great feature races matching top stars on the card. Newcomer Roc A By Misery(1) Batavia(2) and Coach Quinton(4) square off in 3/16 7th race. In a Race 9″ Coach Andrew shoots for his 5th in a row. Stretch driving WW’S Leprecaun(4) stands in the way. The10th race is loaded with sprint stars. WW’S Handgun8) and CTW Esmerelda are top echelon 3/16 mainstays. #7 Lunar
Landing is an emerging mega star.
Best Bets
Race 6 #5 Where’s Lancealot
Race 12 #7 Lunar Landing
Race 18 #1 Coach Fergie

Saturday Matinee
Two Fade A sprints are the day’s highlight races. Two Southern New England stars try to stay red hot. Oakland Wrap Up, post 3 Race 8, has won 7 of 8. Surprising CRT Lenny(7) has three in a tow under his blanket. He tries to keep it going in Race 10.
Best Bets
Race 2 #4 Cry Sunstreaker
Race 6 #6 Charismatic Kara
Race 9 #1 CTW Greek God

Saturday Night
Coach Neville(4) in Race 7 has been on a month long run of excellence. The incomparable WW Headliner will wear the blue #2 in the 9th race. The most consistent winner in the history of the sport tries to win for the 13th time in the new year after winning an all time single season record 65 races in 2013. She comes in tonight with 93 career wins. The long distance runners go in a Race 11. WW’S Penske Edge(1) is clearly the man to beat. He makes his backers nervous coming from way back but flies late extremely wide.
Best Bets
Race 4 #8 CRT Brandon
Race 8 #5 Piece Of Cake
Race 17 #8 RWC Mybudshenna

Basketball Headliners
NCAA Saturday
Syracuse at Duke
Orange stunned in last game, their first loss at lovely Biston College. Duke had to play a markup game Thursday 8 miles away at North Carolina. Bad timing got Dukeon both fronts. The game at Syracuse was a classic. Look for three pace yo break more to Syracuse’s liking. Orangemen are the play.
Other Games to Watch
Kentucky over LSU
Alabama over Missouri
Kansas over Texas

NBA
It’s not nice yo fool Mother Nature or tug on Superman’s cape. It’s also not a good idea to embarrass the King and the champs. The Heat went into Oklahoma and spanked the Thunder Thursfay night. It avenged an ugly beat down by Ok City to the Heat in South Florida several weeks ago.changing of the guard? Nit so fast it appears.
Friday
Charlotte over New Orleans
Toronto over Cleveland
Phoenix over San Antonio
Saturday
Atlanta over New York
Golden State over Brooklyn
Sunday

Chicago over Miami
Brooklyn over LA Lakers

College Basketball point Spread Picks

I had a little time to look at tonight’s college basketball lineup for this Tuesday evening. I have turned to full basketball and horse racing mode with football concluded. Here are my ATS selections for tonight’s contests. No 800 number to dial or credit card required.
Clemson -4 NC St
Iowa St -5 Rexas
Ole Miss +5. Kentucky
Texas Tech +8. Kansas
Tennessee -9. Georgia
Boise St pick. Colorado St

Road To The Derby

On May 2, the first Saturday in May, twenty anxious three year old thoroughbred race horses will Run for the Roses. 180,000 fans in Louisville and a worldwide television audience will witness the sport’s greatest phone numbers.

Before that magic afternoon, there are a number of races from coast to coast that will determine the lineup in the 139th Derby.

Trainer Kirian McLaughlin fired the first shot in Florida on February 1. His colt, Prince of Cairo romped to a big win at Florida’s a Gulfstream Park in the Holy Bull Stakes. That race is the prelude to the 2/22 Fountain of Youth and ultimately the Florida Derby. Orb used that race as a doting oars to his 2013 Derby triumph.

Another critical venue is Oaklawn Park in Arkansas. The first of the three big prep races there will be staged on Monday 2/17. The Southwest Stakes is scheduled to include two much ballyhooed contenders. Taciturn, from the winning machine that is the Steve Asmussen barn, and Strong Mandate, trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, headline the stepping stone mile and sixteenth race. The Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby follow later in the meet.

From now until late April, America’s race tracks will audition hundreds of aspiring champions. As exciting as Derby Day is, the journey to get there is dramatic and unpredictable. Let the scramble begin.

Early Bracket Hints… Contenders and Pretenders

March Madness is on the horizon. Here is an early look at the teams that can make a deep run and potentially be cutting down the nets on April 7.

ACC newcomer Syracuse has all the ingredients. A great coach and the perfect blend of veteran stars with a brilliant young point guard. Year after year, Jim Boeheim maneuvers his teams into championship position. This team has all the elements.

Duke is a usual suspect and is always to be considered. Like many teams warranting attention, the Blue Devils are heavily stocked with Blue a Chip freshmen. They can make noise, but are too reliant on perimeter shooting. That is a fickle deterring dream killer when the long range bombs are not falling.
If the Virginia a Cavaliers continue to improve, they will be a handful to deal with.

Sorry Roy , the only other team worth examining, the Tar Heels, are too erratic and on certain nights defensively deficient.

The Big 12 is stocked with talented, dangerous teams. Of course, you have to start with Kansas as the league’s primary threat. Coach Bill a Self loaded up the pre conference schedule with a rigid list of outstanding opponents. Most of those tests were staged away from Allen Fieldhouse, the most prolific home court in the land. This baptism under fire toughened his young team if frosh phenoms. They can go a very long way.

The other Big 12 team that can make some racket resides in Ames, Iowa. The Cyclones have a great blend of pieces and the demeanor to survive and advance. Different players step up on different nights to do what’s necessary for the team to win.

Kansas Stare must be mentioned as a team that deserves respect. Some advancement by the scrappy Cats would not be surprising. However, Purple a Power is ultimately derailed by the lack of a marquee player who can take over a game.

Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and even a West Virginia, all will be at the dance. The Horns and Sooners have done their best work on their home floors. The Coeboys have suffered mid season turbulence and lost their swagger and the Mountaineers are pesky but not talented enough,

The PAC 12 offers up Arizona, the a wildcatsoccuoued the number one ranking for much of the season to date. They are coping with injury woes but are a serious threat if the reshuffling falls into place by tournament time.

The large contingent of tournament quality teams probably are not legit title contenders. However, Sranford, UCLA, Colorado and Washington all have the right stuff for a big run.

The west also boasts more great teams headlined by San Diego State. A veteran team with the ability to score abundantly and play suffocating defense, the Aztecs are a team that very likely will be knocking on the door in an Elite 8 game trying to advance to Jerryworld and the Final Four.

Although, known for their football team on the blue turf, the 2014 version of the Boise State Broncos are hooping it up. This is so very good team capable of doing some damage.

Wichita State’s Shockers, shocked the world last year and made it to Atlanta. As of this writing they are unbeaten and rolling through their league. Can this veteran group return to the Final Four, you bet. Will they? The feeling here us unlikely. This is probably a better team than last year but weak opponents and fate may well catch up to them.

Florida is the primary Deep South contender. The Gators play suffocating defense and have the mentality of a confident team that knows what it takes.

Kentucky can’t be ignored. An absurdly talented group of freshmen can certainly beat any team on any given day. That youth will need to continue to gel and peak at the right time.

Tom Izzo and Michigan State are always the toughest out in the tournament. The Spartans are always masterfully positioned to make a deep run. This team has the look personnel wise of some of those preceding successful outfits.

Iowa can be considered as theBig 10’s other challenger. The Hawkeyes are another one if those teams that seems to be able to adapt to whatever style is necessary to win.

Villanova and their lone vanquisher Creighton have barreled their way through the schedule. Both are scary tournament foes,

Others in the hunt. Defending champ Louisville, west coast antagonist Gonzaga and major dark horses, SMU and Southern Mississippi.

Sharpen those pencils and watch intently these next couple of weeks as ream’s try and improve their standing. March Madness promises to be a wild ride once again.

Valentine’s Day Sucks

Ok, everyone ready for Valentine’s Day? For all of you dimwits, who somehow latched onto a woman, despite the fact that these annoying days on the calendar slip your mind, Valentine’s Day is Friday.

I personally don’t care for Valentine’s a Day and refuse to acknowledge it. There are a number of reasons but predominately it is due to the fact that I am not in possession of the Golden ticket required to participate, I have no sweetheart. That diminutive, cherubic, winged archer Cupid has certainly fired some of his magic little bolts into my heart over the years. Unfortunately, the arrows with my name on them don’t seem to register in a beloved’s soul or spirit. Instead, they appear to wind up behind those inspiring spots and instantly associate me with the pain in the backside they inflict. Chubby little Bastard hasn’t come through for me since the Carter Administration.

My irritation is only heightened when the same undeserving Don Juans, who forget birthdays, anniversaries and Valentine’s Day, clumsily try and formulate a last second plan yo appease their better half. Cheap flowers from the grocery store or the neighbor’s rose bush, boring chocolates from Walgreens, a
N off brand card that has “Grandma” crossed out and wife/girlfriend name written in because the Dollar Store was all out and the hastily organized dinner outing to the China Buffet or Golden Corrall… All not good. Probably mot a good idea to give her a George Foreman Grill or IHOP gift card either. And these aren’t even the worse.

Oh How I loathe the cheesy crap companies advertise as splendid Valentine’s gifts. They suggest that if you call at the last minute and send her some footed pajamas or a stupid teddy bear, you are guaranteed to ignite her urges and be blissfully rewarded. What a joke! The worst commercial ever is when the gal, surrounded by her female coworkers, pulls from a box a goofy bear with a black mask on his eyes. She reads the card from her idiot partner written by a moron with Vermont Teddy Bear. ” I sent you the Love Bandit Bear because you stole my Heart.” Barf!! Really? Of course all the women standing around ooh and ahh, and are envious. Sure they are.. Of course, the Bear probably stacks up pretty good up against a pair of a Lottery Scratchers.

Me, well I’m a Benched Romantic. An evening at a special or sentimentally significant restaurant or hotel, jewelry, a commemorative collectible, a full body deep tissue massage with oil and always some heartfelt words or verses on a mushy Hallmark Card. Casanova Keefer can step up yo the a Romantic dish and sock it out if the park. But he has not been issued a uniform.

Not having anyone on Valentine’s Day is like the opening scene in Animal House. When Kent and Lonnie visit the stuck up Fraternity, they are ushered into a room with a complete nerd dressed atrociously, an Indian with a turban, an African fellow and a blind guy in a wheelchair. Fellows with no dates meet and join Sidney, Burundi, Harold and Jugdish.

What a great day it is. You spend the whole year hating yourself and on this one date, it’s confirmed that all the world’s women hate you too. In Chicago during prohibition, seven hoodlums were lined up and machine gunned by arrival gang on Valentines Day. That massacre is forever famous but is probably only slightly worse than eating a bologna sandwich by yourself. So girls, put on your Hoody Footies, cuddle up either your Hunk-A-Love Bear and fix that special fella a grilled cheese. As for Cuppid, I hope he collides head on with an Amazon.com drone delivering some of that worthless garbage. Love is in the air, so too are pathogens and oollution. Happy Valentine’s Day, Bah Humbug.

Football Is Over…. Now What?

The most viewed Super Bowl of all time brought down the curtain on another football season Sunday evening. No need to rehash the obvious once again, the game was a one-sided massacre. Watching the Seahawks maul the visibly shaken, clearly intimidated Broncos reminded me of one of those animal shows on the Discovery channel. The field in New Jersey was reminiscent of the Serengeti plain. The futile fleeing of an overmatched, slower wildebeest by a charging lioness was the image that came to mind. Slammed, driven to the ground and ripped from limb to limb. Quite a horrifying spectacle indeed.

There can be little doubt that the real showdown of the two best teams was staged two weeks earlier in Seattle. The Seahawks defeated the Firty Niners in a fierce, tightly played physical matchup. To see teams characterized by great, dominating, punishing defenses standing atop the hill at season’ end, leaves a lasting, baffling image as the 2014 season tips it’s hat and rides into the horizon. In an era of record setting offense, physicality decimates finesse. The plot thickens moving forward. One thing is for certain, if you are an NFL General Manager or Head Coach, your job is fascinating and terrifying at the same time. There are lots if different directions you can go to build your roster. But choose wisely! Each season in recent years,25% of teams excuse their coach and or GM at seasons end.

Easy choice for worst game of the year. Redskins and Falcons at the Georgia Dome. Atlanta, Washington and Houston, all double digit win, division champions in 2012, proved that while Rome can’t be built in a day, a burgeoning empire can certainly collapse nearly that fast. The Skins and Birds staged their forgettable comedy of errors in late December. The Redskins turned the ball over seven times and still were a 2-point conversion away from winning on the last play of the game. The Falcons registered the win but shoddy drafts and personnel decisions, particularly on the offensive and defensive lines, reduced their season into a shambles. The draft in April looms large fir the suddenly Dingy Birds. Meanwhile, redskin owner Dan Snyder fired yet another Head Coach and went out and hired Gruden. Uh no, not that one,… Jon still works for ESPN. Instead it is his brother,Jay Gruden, inheriting the mess in our nation’s capital.

Training camps open in 5 months. There is one thing for sure, nothing is for sure. Successful teams play brutal weighted schedules. Free agents scurry about from team to team, technology is utilized to breakdown and analyze every aspect of strategic and player performance and the game constantly evolves. Therein lies the allure of the National Football League. Like colorful, somewhat deranged, former Falcons coach Jerry Glanville once said, NFL stands for…. Not For Long!!