Derby TV

Jay recounts his top 20 highlights of the 131st Kentucky Derby, as seen on TV.

Updated: July 22, 2005, 7:17 PM ET
By Jay Cronley | Special to

Here are my 20 highlights of the 131st Kentucky Derby, as seen on TV.

20. There were so many horses looking to get it on that the cameras missed entries number 16 through 20 in the post parade, all the home viewer got was a view of rumps from well behind and above.

19. One of the new luxury boxes at Churchill cost $260,000 per year; wonder what watching a $10,000 claiming race in a quarter million dollar crib would be like.

18. Kenny Mayne was the only person to get a pre-Derby interview with George Steinbrenner, who had about as much to say as his horse.

17. It sounded like "My Old Kentucky Home" was being played from the football stadium a few blocks over, too quiet.

16. In an allowance early on the day's racing card from Churchill Downs, a gate worker reached over and smacked an unruly horse on its head. Probably didn't hurt. Sure didn't help.

15. On the early morning show on ESPN, reporter Kenny Rice passed by Bandini's stall and asked the horse for a sign. The horse did nothing then, and followed up with more of the same during the race.

14. Hours before the running of the Derby, Afleet Alex trainer Tim Ritchie said that the outcome of the race had already been written in the stars, possibly causing some people to cash in and redirect some win wagers.

13. Television's Randy Moss said that in a crackdown on cheating, one of the things they're testing horses for is cobra venom: CSI Backstretch.

12. Angel Cordero Jr., age 61, was shown galloping horses in the morning like a teenager because he still loves the sport.

11. The authors of the new book "Six Secrets of Successful Bettors" were shown tearing up losing wagering tickets, suggesting they should have looked for secrets seven, eight or even nine.

10. Neither Lukas nor Baffert were interviewed.

9. At a party the night before the Derby, Rebecca Romijn was shown reminding us why we like low-cut dresses.

8. Kid Rock reminded us why we love this sport so much as he described how he was going to make his Derby bet. He was going to be blindfolded and spun around, then he would point at a horse and bet a grand on whatever it was.

7. West Point Thoroughbreds Inc. ran the best commercial Derby day, wherein somebody tried to describe the finish of a race and became incoherently excited.

6. A reporter said, "They even let Kurt and I in." Then a trainer said, "He done it within himself." I don't want to get uppity about grammar, but that ain't right.

5. Trainer Jeff Mullins took a shot at the Beyer speed figures before the race, saying that one guys figures them and he can figure anything he wants. Turns out a 120 Beyer on a walk in the park doesn't have that much to do with a swamped Kentucky Derby after all. Turns out the top Beyer figures win around a third of the time. Nothing is easy is it.

4. Working the society scene, reporter Jennifer Smith asked Sir Richard Branson, who made Virgin Air, if there was anything he would like to do on a race horse. He didn't know what to say and didn't say much of anything.

3. In another celebrity interview, Jennifer Smith asked Matthew Fox of the popular television series "Lost" if he knew how the season's last dramatic episode would end. There was another pause. Then the actor said yeah, he knew how it would end because they had already filmed it.

2. The governor of Kentucky said that slot machines could be a factor when it came to supporting racing in the state, so much for the simple purity of the game in its homeland.

1. The national horse handicapping experts failed on a scale seldom witnessed in sports history. Two experts on national television said that Bellamy Road looked like the next Seattle Slew. Others said he was extra special. It was as though the Beyer number of 120 made anything else unworthy of the average expert's intelligence. The lead handicapper for a popular cable sports network offered a Pick Four ticket that used 11 horses, hitting none, a feat previously thought to be impossible. Expense account bar tabs are flying at half-mast.

Watch the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 21 at 5 p.m. ET on NBC.