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Prop bets are bizarre for Kentucky Derby

A woman places a bet before the 144th

A woman places a bet before the 144th running of the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on Friday. Credit: AP / John Minchillo

LOUISVILLE — So you thought the Super Bowl was the be-all and end-all of prop bets? Not so. As if it wasn’t easy enough to tap out on the horses, posted many bizarre props for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.

Here are some favorites:

Odds a jockey loses his pants during the race: 499-1

Over/under arrests at Churchill Downs: 9.5. (If you’re a Louisville policeman or a security guard, the temptation to play the over heavily might be irresistible.)

Odds a fan hijacks a horse: 2,000-1

Odds a fan streaks the track 5-1 (If someone bet on this, then ran around naked, would the payoff be withheld?)

Odds a horse jumps the rail and races into the infield and/or the crowd: 999-1

Odds a TV track reporter falls off his/her horse: 74-1 (An odd number. Why not 75-1?)

Over/under of 115,000 on number of mint juleps sold at Churchill on Friday and Saturday. (Who is crazy enough to try to calculate that? And if someone did, you couldn’t trust the figure anyway.)

People will bet on anything. No action, no attraction. But after reading through that list, you might conclude that gambling is a menace to society and should be banned.

Fame is fleeting

Winning the Derby is no guarantee of future success. On Friday at Churchill, last year’s Derby winner, Always Dreaming, finished a backpedaling fifth, his fifth consecutive loss since last year’s first Saturday in May. Nyquist, the 2016 winner, never won another race, going 0-for-3 that year before being retired. Orb (2013) went 0-for-4 before heading to stud. In the previous five years. Only California Chrome (2014) and Triple Crown immortal American Pharoah (2015) won more than once after the Derby.

Ponchos the style at rainy track

Umbrellas, like weapons and firecrackers, always are banned at Churchill. Although it’s a major inconvenience when rain comes, as it did Saturday, you can understand the reason for the rule. The idea of 160,000 people, many befogged by alcohol, staggering around sideways while carrying pointy objects is disturbing. The chances of getting poked, maybe even in the eye, might be a lot better than picking a winner.

Clear ponchos become a hot item when rain is expected, and thousands used them as a fashion accessory to protect their fancy outfits.

Around the track

Lookin at Lee, last year’s Derby runner-up at 33-1 odds, gave Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen his 8,000th winner in the third race. It was only the third win in 18 career starts for Lookin At Lee and his first since 2016. Asmussen, 52, is second on the all-time victory list behind the late Dale Baird’s 9,445 . . . Friday’s crowd of 113,510 was the fifth-largest for the Kentucky Oaks, the 3-year-old fillies’ Derby.

New York Sports