Seriously, though, it’s a great holiday to reflect on all of life’s blessings — however big or small — and to express one’s appreciation for the people and events that have shaped one’s life.
So, before I offer some Thanksgiving goodies and Black Friday bargains, let me take a moment to offer my sincerest thanks to:
* Everybody that reads my columns, comments on my Facebook page and listens to my podcast… without swearing.Now, without further ado, let’s see if we can add some cabbage to the Thanksgiving Day menu…
* TwinSpires.com for allowing me to write my columns and produce my podcast… without resorting to swearing… or threatening a lockout.
* Rapid Redux, for reminding us what the sport is really all about — guts, determination and a will to win greater than the richest purse or fullest field.
* 99.76 percent of those in the horse racing industry. I know it is popular to criticize racing officials and others intimately involved with the Sport of Kings, but overall they are people who care passionately about the sport and its future… even if it doesn’t always appear so.
* All the backside workers — hot walkers, exercise riders and other stable helpers — who toil in anonymity. You are the human equivalents of Rapid Redux.
THANKSGIVING DAY (THURSDAY, NOV. 24)
COMMENTS: SENSATIONAL SLAM has a ton of back class, including stakes wins both this year and last, and ran well at this level last time; expect another good effort.
BET(S): WIN on 12 at odds of 1-1 or greater.
COMMENTS: There might be value in the place spot on what appears to be a very strong Repole/Pletcher entry.
BET(S): PLACE on 1/1X (scratch of 1A is okay).
COMMENTS: GALLATIN’S RUN takes a plunge in class for top trainer Joe Woodard. He’s clearly got problems — the horse, that is — but Woodard is very, very good with horses of this type.
BET(S): WIN on 4 at odds of 9-5 or greater.
COMMENTS: V SQUARED is a Win Factor Report Prime Overlay possibility.
BET(S): WIN on 5 at odds of 3-5 or greater.
GET-IN-THE-BLACK FRIDAY (FRIDAY, NOV. 25)
COMMENTS: STUDLEY is a Win Factor Report Key Selection.
BET(S): WIN on 4 at odds of 6-5 or greater.
COMMENTS: OCEAN SURGE and SPECTACULOUS provide a great “dutch” betting opportunity in this race.
BET(S): WIN on 10 at odds of 2-1 or greater and/or WIN on 1 at odds of 9-2 or greater.
COMMENTS: Looks like good value on CRUISIN WANDA in this spot.
BET(S): WIN on 1 at odds of 7-5 or greater.
Derek Simon’s 2011 Free Selection Statistics
Races (Selections): 67 (74)
(This year's published selections through 11/17/11.)
Note: Play is restricted to any horse(s) that meet my fair odds requirements (when listed). Multiple qualifying contenders will be bet separately, however, multiple bets will be adjusted to equal a single wager and the payoffs averaged. For example a winning WIN/PLACE wager paying $6.20 on top and $4.30 underneath would count as a single bet paying $5.25 (the average of $6.20 and $4.30).