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What's in a name? Maybe a winner

Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford Credit: Getty Images

This time each year, New Yorkers who’ve watched approximately zero horse races since last summer suddenly turn into weathered handicappers — all they need is a stale cigar and a beat-up copy of the Daily Racing Form.

We here at amNewYork also fall into this category, and we are thoroughly prepared to lose some beer money on the race. To simplify the contenders, we picked four horses to keep an eye on, explaining their chances in layman’s terms that a novice horseplayer can understand. We’ve also selected a photo exemplifying each horse’s name. Let’s play!

No. 18 Uncle Mo (9-2)

• Why you should bet Mo: Everyone has been talking about Mo since Christmas.
Billionaire owner Mike Repole told ESPN, “If he doesn’t go off the favorite, I’ll make him the favorite.”
• Why you shouldn’t: Mo was diagnosed with a gastrointestinal infection two weeks ago, and we won’t know until Saturday if he’ll actually race.
Plus, only one horse has won the Derby from the No. 18 position.

No. 13 Mucho Macho Man (12-1)

• Why you should bet Mucho: A long, lean horse with speed, Macho Man usually finishes in the top 3. And his “confident” owners this week said he had some great training runs at Churchill Downs.
• Why you shouldn’t: Experts aren’t impressed by his pedigree. Plus, he drew the “unlucky” 13th post.

No. 14 Shackleford (12-1)

• Why you should bet Shack: One of the speedier horses in the field, Shackleford — Shackle-FORD — was the runner-up in the Florida Derby.
• Why you shouldn’t: The Florida Derby performance might have been a fluke, as he was at 70-1 odds in the race. And a horse with “shackle” in the name just doesn’t sit right with us.

No. 9 Derby Kitten (30-1)

• Why you should bet Kitten: This colt seems destined for Derby glory because of its name. Maybe Churchill Downs should allow kittens to race next year! How darling would that be?
• Why you shouldn’t: This horse has a habit of, well, losing — a lot. He took five tries to break his maiden, and that was on a short track.

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