Friday, December 6, 2013

TICKET EXCHANGE FORUM



TICKET EXCHANGE FORUM


If you are looking to sell, donate, locate or trade UofL women's basketball tickets, use our comments section to hook up.

A suggested approach would be:

2 tickets available for UofL WBB game 1/26/14 at KFC YUM Center against Memphis. Can't use 'em. First e-mail to bobthebuilder@bob.com gets them. Must pick up from me @ work.

We'll see if anyone is interested in this.  Consider giving up yours if you can't go.

( NOTE: THIS WEBSITE IS ONLY A PLATFORM FOR PRIVATE TRANSACTIONS AND WE WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE, ASSUME NOR WILL BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIFFICULTIES IN TRANSACTIONS. NEITHER PAUL SYKES NOR CARDINAL COUPLE LLC ARE MAKING A PROFIT OR RECEIVING ANY FEES FOR THIS EXCHANGE. IT IS MERELY A PUBLIC SERVICE FOR FANS WHO WANT TO GET RID OF, SELL, TRADE OR PURCHASE SEATS. SCALPERS ARE NOT WELCOME AND ANY COMMENT POSTS THAT ARE OF THAT NATURE WILL BE DELETED.)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Saturday Breeders Cup Racing Selections


SATURDAY BREEDERS CUP SELECTIONS


Nine races to look at today...some tough fields, as well.

About yesterday...

We did have a PK 3 that paid a little over $300, which was nice...but after counting up all the wagers and monies won...we ended up winning only about $130 on the day.

Suns Out Guns Out -- 4th with no ammo left
Centralintelligence -- pulled up at the end of the race
Royal Delta -- not so regal
Bobby's Kitten -- curled up in a ball and went to sleep.

We'll do better today!

CLASSIC

I give Mucho Macho Man the edge here...loves this track. I'll also use Fort Larned, Game On Dude and my longshot sleeper is Will Take Charge.

RESULT: WE won with Mucho Macho Man!

MILE

Love Wise Dan at this distance and he's the pick. Tossing in Silver Max, Za Approval and longshot He Be Fire And Ice to follow behind him.

RESULT: Wise Dan got up just at the wire to win!

SPRINT

Wow...what a tough race! I'll side with Justin Phillip to hit the line first. Would not be surprised, though...if Private Zone, Fast Bullet or Trinniberg get their picture taken instead.

RESULT: Secret Circle won...went off as the favorite.

TURF

Tough to decide between Little Mike and The Fugue. I also respect Big Blue Kitten here. A longshot that could set the tote board on fire is Magician.

RESULT: Magician pulled off the sleight of hand! The Fugue ran second.

JUVENILE

Going out on a limb here with We Miss Artie. The crowd will back Havana heavily. Strong Mandate rates a chance here and my bomber at a price is Cleburne.

RESULT:  New Year's Day surprised the field. HAVANA got 2nd and STRONG MANDATE took the show spot.

TURF SPRINT

Another doozy to handicap!  I came up with Reneesgotzip to cross the wire first. If Chips All In, Jeranimo or Caracortado get the trophy, though...I wouldn't be shocked.

RESULT:  Reneesgotzip had zip but ran second. 

FILLY AND MARE TURF

Marketing Mix is a horse I just love in this spot. Romantica and Dank will make it tough for her. Keep an eye also on longshot Kitten's Dumplings.

RESULT: Dank is as good as advertised. ROMANTICA was next best.

FILLY AND MARE SPRINT

Teddy's Promise is my best bet of the day. Groupie Doll, Dance Card and high odds runner Summer Applause will fill out the trifecta choices.

RESULT: Groupie Doll took the trophy! TEDDY faded to fifth.

JUVENILE FILLIES

Artemis Agrolera looks to be the best. Untapable could steal it. Sweet Reason will get a lot of play. A very live longshot is Rosalind.

RESULT:  No luck here...although Rosalind did get up for third.


Good luck today and remember that if you wager...do so in a responsible manner.

ALL in all...it was a tough day at the windows. We did have five winners on the Breeder's Cup selections...but only hit one small Pick 3 and just three exactas and no trifectas. $2 to win on all four selections in each of the nine races would have cost $72 and the total payout was $53.50

Was down pretty significantly at the windows before the 12th race...so I took a chance on Mucho Macho Man "across the board" and increased my exacta wager. The strategy paid off...getting a nice pay off on him and on him and WillTake Charge in the exacta. I still ended the day down about $50 on Breeder's Cup wagers. I also played several races on Churchill's card...did a little better there with a nice paying exacta and tri in the 5th race and a PK3 that ended with the 5th race...but didn't do much after that and the Churchill winnings din't cover the Santa Anita losses.

-Paulie



Thursday, October 31, 2013

Friday Breeders Cup races and selections



FRIDAY BREEDERS CUP SELECTIONS

Five Breeders Cup races will be run Friday at Santa Anita.
I've checked the numbers and the entries and give you my picks for these five races. Good Luck and remember this is for entertainment purposes only.


MARATHON

I'm going with a price here...West Point Throughobred's Suns Out Guns Out. I like the jockey/trainer combination of Julian Leparoux and Dale Romans. It is Leparoux's only Breeders cup Friday mount...so he won't be holding anything back. I'll toss Cease, Commander and Ever Rider in any exacta, trifecta and Pick 3 combinations I attempt.

London Bridge...with Mike Smith aboard...could get a sizable amount of betting interest. I wouldn't be shocked if he bests these...but I'm not going to use this one.

This field is very strong. None of these are going to blow the others away and it should be an exciting stretch run.

JUVENILE TURF

A tough, evenly matched field here!
 
Bobby’s Kitten, (Kitten’s Joy and the Ramsey’s here) will be the favorite with a win in the GIII Pilgrim Stakes last out in Saturday’ $1,000,000, GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Stakes, for the 2yo boys, going 1 mile out on the Santa Anita turf!

Giovanni Boldini, is #2 on the M/L, is a son of War Front with an Irish Stakes win last out was 3rd in a Grp 1 race 2 back!

Outstrip, at 4/1, does own a Grp 2 title at Donchester this year and was a good 3rd loast out in a Grp 1 2yo turfer at Newmarket! Gets a Mike Smith ride in this 2yo turfer too!

Bashart at 6/1, was the winner in the GII With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga 2 back then came 2nd to Poker Player (who is 12/1 here) by a length in the GIII Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland last out!

Give me Poker Player on top, followed by Bashart, Giovanni Boldini and Bobby's Kitten. I'll use them and Outstrip in the Pick 3.

DIRT MILE

I've loved Verazzano since he's been a 2 yr. old and the mile is perfect for him. Johnny Velazquez and Todd Pletcher get it done around 3-1 or so.

Rick Pitino's GoldenCents will challenge. Doug O'Neill finally got wise and put Rafael Bejarano on board. They'll be a close second. Longshot Centralintellegence needed his last one out at Santa Anita and gets show money here.
After that...tough to choose between Pants on Fire and Alpha. I'll use them all in the Pick 3 and wheel Verazzano with them in the exacta and trifecta.

JUVENILE FILLIES TURF


My Conquestadory gets a terrible outside post...but has wowed them in her only two starts. I'll take her with Al Thakhira, Vorda. Ready to Act and Tessa Rossi in any exacta, trifecta and Pick 3 wagers. I give My Conquestadory a slight nod.


Dancing House could surprise at a price...I'm not using her but she's a live longshot.


DISTAFF

Royal Delta, Prince of Sylmar and Beholder are very hard to seperate. I think Royal Delta shows up Friday and wins, though. Use 'em all in the exotics and if you need a "price" horse...look at Close Hatches.

Best of luck Friday and if you wager...do so responsibly!

-Paulie


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Why Walter White had to die



I became a fan of the AMC series "Breaking Bad" from the beginning. It provided a look at what one man would do for his family (and himself) when he found out he had cancer and would be dead in a couple of years.

What would I do in the same circumstances? I've provided well for my wife if I should leave this orb before her. Not by Walter White means...but she won't want for anything after my passing. Which I hope is a very long time from today.

Paul Sykes will die. We all will. Walter White had to die. He had become "the cancer". He was an evil man...but I still liked him...because of the basic premise he operated on...

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one

Sure, he went about it in a god-awful way. Mistakes, murders, things gone very bad. Betraying, double-crossing and the murder of Hank...which still pisses me off. I don't exactly blame Walter for Hank's murder....he did try to call off "Uncle Jack" and the Nazi boys...and offered $80 million in pay-off money for his life...but his call set a whole wild set of wheels in motion.

Walter White had to die. His exile, you knew, would be temporary. He had to set things right....in his own twisted yet brilliant way. Money to the family, the elimination of the evil empire Todd and the criminals had built. A final determination on Jesse. Cleaning up the mess he created. Then...acceptance and disappearance.

We talked about the ending. Dying in a meth lab. I proposed a different ending. Jesse, after getting in the car...backing up...next to Walt and saying...

"Mr White. Get in. You saved my life. We're going to the hospital"

And them driving off. Future unknown. The two together again...just like they were in the beginning.

Closure. A glimmer of hope for a possible movie down the road or sequel.

It was fun and horrific at times, BREAKING BAD. Maybe we'll see Walt reappear as a "walker" in THE WAALKING DEAD. That would be awesome. Maybe Jessie gets his wood-shop and devotes his life to helping drug addicts. Maybe Walt Jr. uses the money he receives at age 18 or 21 to help those in need.

Bye Walter White. You were a complex, complicated and cunning man. In a shady, slimy world of meth addicition...you somehow made it seem almost respectable...since you were going to great risks to provide for a family after you were gone...but ultimately destroying that family in more ways than the dollars you made making the blue stuff.

Oh...Lydia, Lydia...have you seen Lydia?

....

Thursday, June 6, 2013

BIG EAST? Yeah, I'll admit it..I'll miss a part of it


Louisville is American bound in some sports for a year. One of them is women's basketball and I'll
be frank, here. I'm going to miss some of the coaches that are remaining behind in the BIG EAST.

I'll start with Doug Bruno, skipper of the DePaul WBB team. One of the best, post-game press conferences I've ever attended with an opposing coach came from "the Dougie" after Louisville
side-swiped his Blue Demons in the KFC YUM! Center during the 2012-13 basketball season.

He had every right to be surly, non-committal and terse...but Dougie unleashed a 17 minute oratory on basketball, conference re-alignment, life, philosophy and Chicago taverns. Sonja and I were ready to stand and give the man an ovation...Jeff Walz was ready to take the podium, though, so we let the DePaul legend walk out without a proper tribute.

Bruno is a master of word-scripting, drawing parallels and baring his soul. We'd love to see Louisville manage to get DePaul on the non-conference slate down the road. In any event, we'll be listening Herr Bruno. Keep rockin' the institutional dress shirts, Coach. Shawshank Redemption!

Another coach I'll miss is Harry Peretta from Villanova. Not so much for his post game recaps, but for his on-court antics. Harry looks like a harried floor manager at a discount department store trying to deal with a Black Friday early bird crowd. He starts nattily attired during the pre-game warmup...dress coat on, tie in place and shirt tucked in. By halftime, the coat is off, the tie askew and the shirt untucked and drenched in sweat. He keeps a constant pace in front of the bench, coaching his players, questioning the referees and displaying a series of looks, postures and emotions that qualify his for an Oscar trophy.

Harry does it the right way with his kids and has done so for well over 30 years as the Wildcat head honcho. Always disciplined, structured and in sync, his teams are models of efficiency and production. And Harry always puts on a good show. Another matchup I'd love to see in the non-conference slate.

Finally, there is C. Vivian Stringer. The gran dame of Rutgers basketball is the epitome of class and conviviality off the court. During games, she is a fierce and spirited competitor...but in pre and post game settings she is "friendly Aunt Viv" with a smiling greeting and kind words for fellow coaches, opposing players, fans and media. 

I sincerely hope that Julie Hermann allows her to set her own course as the Scarlet Knights skipper and determine when she is ready to leave te game she has given so much to. If Julie is the "builder" she claims to be, she surely realizes that there are some historic structures and treasures that you don't tinker with and leave in their natural states and conditions.

Others? Sure. Terri Mitchell (Marquette) and the boisterous "I thought I went first" tirade in the post-game presser in the KFC YUM! Center a couple of seasons ago. Geno, who we'll get one more year with before we skate to the ACC.

We'll also be re-uniting with some great coaches in the ACC. My favorite, "the Q"...Quentin Hillsman and his Temptations /Las Vegas Show Revue he performs nightly as the Syracuse head poobah. The Muffet McGraw "squat" and those quizzical looks and stares she displays as Notre Dame's boss basketballer.

And, some fun ACC coaches await us in women's hoops. Coach Joanne P. McCauley and the "I've never done anything wrong...its my player's fault" routine. UNC's "wicked witch of the west" impersonator Sylvia Hatchell.

Is it hoops season yet?

-Paulie

--

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Too Close For Comfort



Watching an auto accident is never an enjoyable or pretty thing. When your wife is involved in it and it happens right in front of your vision and your house...it's doubly scary.

First off, Sonja is OK. And that is the most important thing.

I was sitting in our den at my work desk, right in front of our front window facing the street while researching information on the internet for an article I'm contemplating doing for my main website CARDINAL COUPLE.

I hear a screech of tires, look up and see a truck plow into the passenger side of a silver car that looked strangely familiar.  Holy crap! That is my car and my wife driving! She had used my car to go to a routine medical appointment earlier in the morning and was getting ready to literally turn into our
driveway when the driver of the car behind her decides to pass ON THE LEFT (driver inattention) and thumped her. He hadn't realized she was slowing down, had her turn signal on and had to hit the brakes to avoid rear-ending her.

I put on my shoes and got out there immediately. Fortunately, she was out of the car, OK and looking at the damage to our car with the driver of the other vehicle.

He realized she was slowing down too late, didn't want to hit her and swerved to avoid her...not realizing her left turn signal was on and cross-jacked her. He wasn't paying attention while driving a moving motor vehicle.

She is OK. The driver door and side mirror on the left aren't though. Thankfully, a high rate of speed was present when he hit her. It was on her side of the car and could have really hurt her or given a whiplash or crushed her.

Here's the strange, eerie part of the story. The other driver works at the local high school. My wife works at the elementary next door. After they exchanged information and I went inside to call the police, he attempts to drive off. Fortunately, he had his cell phone number on the sheet he wrote his name, insurance info and policy number on. I quickly called him and informed him that leaving the scene of an accident was a criminal offense. He apologized, stated that he didn't realize and was back before the cops showed up.

She is OK and that is all that matters.

Now the insurance game begins. Claims, arranging for towing, repair, rental...all the fun stuff. A game I don't particularly like to play.

She is OK and that is all that matters.

And, if you read this...please ignore your cellphones, etc while driving. Driver inattention caused this.
It could have been a lot worse.

Be alert out there. The life that was saved was my wife's.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Post Derby and a new star on the horizon?



It is now eight days since the running of Derby 139. Reflecting back on ORB'S win and how he did it, he was provided with the perfect trip and excellent ride from jockey Joel Rosario. Rosario came into Churchill and won at a 40% clip before he headed to Belmont. Shaun Bridgmohan has taken the meet at Churchill by storm after Rosario's departure...winning five races yesterday and looks to be well on his way to get a leading riders' trophy if the mounts stay hot and the crafty Cajun can stay healthy.

As for VERRAZANO, I am still in denial and disappointment. HE chased the early fractions in the Derby, looked to be well-positioned heading into the stretch and then applied the brakes and backed-up. I have no doubts he'll recover, recoup and have a very successful three year old campaign. He just got whipped up on in the Derby. It happens to a lot of horses...good and bad.

I caught the clip of FREEDOM CHILD'S incredible win in the PETER PAN Stakes yesterday at Belmont. I liked the son of Malibu Moon enough to include him in my exacta. Unfortunately, My Name Is Michael and Go Get the Basil couldn't finish second.

Freedom Child set the track afire in the slop...maybe a bad choice of metaphors....but so very impressive in destroying the field by 13 1/4 lengths in the 1 1/8 mile test. Stumbling out of the gate, he was briefly last, rallied under jockey Luis Saez to grab the lead before the first 1/4 mile and sprinted away from the rest of the field...galloping down the long Belmont stretch in Secretariat fashion. I was speechless. I figured that favorite Abraham would put up some kind of fight. He never did. Assumed that Fear The Kitten would come rolling at the end to make a race of it. Didn't happen.

I was looking for a "price" in the exacta and superfecta in the race. I had the winner, third and fourth place finishers.

Freedom Child is now 2-1-1 in his career in six starts. HE and Orb have hooked up against each other a couple of times. In a mile maiden special weight race over a mile last November, Freedom Child ran second to Orb by two lengths. In the Wood Memorial, won also by Orb, Freedom Child had all sorts of trouble from the get-go and finished a disappointing 10th. A race where he was held in the starting gate by an assistant starter, broke about 10 lengths behind the rest of the field and ran for purse money only...all bets being returned on him. A bad break, for sure.

There were no problems yesterday for the West Point Thoroughbreds owned monster.

Trainer Tom Albertrani had a plan going into the race:

"We wanted him to be on the lead, and luckily he was able to quicken coming out of the gate and get to an easy lead. Once I saw him on the lead like that I was pretty confident at the half-mile pole by the way he was travelling."

He now sets his sites on the Belmont Stakes on June 8th.

I hope that ORB wins the Preakness. In convincing fashion. The horse racing world needs a Triple Crown winner badly. ORB has that chance.

I will, however, wager on a chestnut horse with a white stripe right down the middle of his nose. You see, I was cheering for a party-crasher a few weeks ago. The University of Louisville women's basketball team. They finished second. I'd have no problem at all with Freedom Child finishing second in the Belmont Stakes.

I think he may have just grown up enough and learned enough recently, though, to crash the coronation and wear the prom queen's crown in the final leg of the Triple Crown. Especially if it's a rainy day.

After all, if the favorites won every race, this horse handicapping thing would be pretty simple, wouldn't it?

--Paulie

Sunday, May 5, 2013



It's over. This dizzying week of Derby activities ended last night around 11 p.m. when we finally pulled into the driveway, looked at each other and gave a collective sigh of relief.

Saturday's activities were a Derby Party. The first year at this location, a group of people from Derby's past and I decided to move the location to a son of one of the regular's house. Two car garage. Nice. Plenty of room and tents. Bonus.

52" HD TV for viewing the races. Excellent!

The crowd was decidedly younger (and much bigger) than we'd been accustom to in the last couple of years. A lot of fun, the "kids" loved making Derby and other races of the day picks and sharing them with me. I charged a sliding scale fee to listen to them.

The evidence has already been destroyed, Mr. Attorney General. As far as I know, each contestant was over 21 and in good-standing with the Kentucky Racing Commission.

It was relaxing in a way...no mass miles of walking...but tiring mentally. It was good, though...to be tucked in the corner of the garage...warm, dry and out of the wind. With my table in front of me and flanked by "the old guard" of Derby party veterans...we did work.

And partied.

Complaint #1:  Why does WAVE TV / NBC pull away from last race of the day coverage without showing the prices? It sucks. Fortunately, a young guy there with every conceivable "app" on his phone was able to get me the results, order of finish and prices within a few minutes.

Complaint #2:  The rain. It killed a lot of outdoor activities such as bean bag toss, volleyball and kept the grilling out at a low level.

Other than that, it was a blast.

This is the sixth place (with this current core group of organizers) that we've had the Derby Party over the last 25 years. It looks like we may have found a long term home. And it's an easy drive home for Sonja and I. Even in the pouring rain we had to deal with on the evening ending journey.

Today is a day of rest. A brief afternoon couples shower event. Then, it's kick back and relax and recover. Three straight days at the track and one at a party can take its toll on you.

But, what a ride! A good financial 96 hours also. Old friends reunited with, new ones made. The adventures and funny moments. Hanging with the St. Louis boys and writing for the Jersey guys. The success and disappointments. The whole aura...

I love this time of year!

-Paulie

--

Saturday, May 4, 2013


Happy Derby to you!
 
Our selections for today are at www.cardinalcouple.com



THE START

Yesterday was an interesting day at the Oaks...to say the least. We walked over from the 80 Under 80 and made it  inside the Infield around 11:15 a.m. Got to see Poobah's wife Babs, and gave her a big hug. She was parking cars. Poobah was inside 80 Under 80, doing who knows what...didn't get a chance to see him.

We thought about taking the bus shuttle back and forth. It's $15 round trip this year. Between me, Sonja and Tommy Boy...that equals five beers over in the Infield. We decided to walk.

My knee held up pretty good. The usual hucksters and preachers were lined up on Central Avenue like always. I got an American flag pin. The guy wanted a donation. I saluted him and told him that I was disabled also and I kept going.

A preacher handing out pamphlets asked me if I knew where I was going in the after-life. I told him I was pretty sure either Naples or Mulligan's. He didn't get it. He asked me if I prayed. I told him I was praying for Beholder in the Oaks. I kept moving.

The usual shakedown at the gate. Searching bags, wand-waving and raise your arms and turn around. I complied fully. I wasn't "carrying" this year. No way I would have got anything in. The boys were being diligent.

Through the rowdy tunnel that leads to the Infield. The crowd got the C A R D S chant up twice. No CATS, CATS, CATS was ever heard. We emerged unscathed and headed to a nice, grassy spot in front of the giant screen in the back of the Infield. Tommy Boy stopped and got us a couple of beers. $8 for Budweiser, $9 for Heineken.

We're weren't getting toasted today.

THE INFIELD

The folks around us were very nice. Mostly from Louisville and southwest Virginia. They saw Sonja had sunblock and we shared the bottle with them. They handed her $7 for the usage. First winner of the day! She tried to give the money back to them...they told her to go buy a couple of bottles of water with it. $4 a bottle out there. I gave her a $1 and she returned later with two bottles.

Tommy and I got bets up in time for the #4 race. Sonja was holding out until the sixth. He and I started a Pick 3. We hit the first leg with the #3 horse and Rafael Bejarano on board. It made all of us happy, the folks behind us had started a "show pool" in the first race and they were still alive also with the #3.

Our Pick 3 died in the 5th.race. We both loved the #8 Bail Me Out. He ran second. We had three other horses, too. None of them was the #8. The folks behind us had the #1 and they were excited. He came third. Tommy Boy and I were off to wager again. A Pick 3 again, plus all the bets I had to place for races 6-11. I bet them early, before the lines get long.

I got, perhaps, the slowest and stupidest teller in all of Churchill Downs. I swear, I stood there 10 minutes. People were standing behind me and moving to other lines...because this poor lady just didn't grasp it. Finally, she finished punching the tickets out. I checked them after I paid, still standing there. Three of them were wrong. She got a supervisor over and he corrected them. Tom, who had finished his wagering in about three minutes, left and brought me back a beer. I needed it. Jeez O' Pete! They need more automatic wagering machines in the Infield.

YOU WANNA BET?

The #6 race ran. We all hit. Pick 3 still alive, Sonja and I had the exacta and trifecta and her win, place and show bets did well. The gang behind us hit the show pool again on the #4 horse. It was a beautiful thing.

Race #7 got the #3 Kitten's Dumplings home on top. This pleased all of us, since Sonja had it to win...and the exacta. It was in our Pick 3 and the show pool folks had it also. They were well over $200 up on the show pool and were "letting it ride".

We ran into "C.P." on a walk to the restroom. He said he had 4 cases of free beer at his spot and he'd treat us to a few. We walked to where he told us he was after the restroom break. Everyone there knew him, but the story about the four cases of free beer were bogus. They got a chuckle out of that story. We were not amused.

Race #8 killed our Pick 3. We had some good horses, but no #9...who won at 8-1. Sonja had the second place finisher. The show pool players were absolutely giddy. The #2 paid $5.00 to show and they had $250 on it. They were now up to $625. Tom and I also started a Pick 4 in the race. It died after the first leg.

Sonja left to walk and get some food before the ninth race. We had conversations with people, started a Pick 3 and talked to a guy who thought Tom was a guy who used to run a poker game each week in a house behind the old Winn-Dixie on Preston. Nope, wrong guy...

KA-BLAM!

Off they went in the ninth race. The show pool players rolled all $625 over on the #9 horse. They were going for the big kill. Unfortunately, the #9 killed the #8 shortly after they broke from the gate. The #9 did finish second...but the Objection/Inquiry lights came up after the race. Tom and I were OK...we had the winner.. #6...so we were still alive. Sonja hit two of her across the board bets and another exacta.

They took the #9 down from second and out of the money after further review. The show pool gang had been defeated. They were deflated. Why they didn't decide to grant themselves a payout after they got to $625 is beyond me.

Sonja returned with a huge Turkey Leg and a cheeseburger for me. $20. Wow...

Race 10 treated us well. Sonja with the exacta, me with the exacta and trifecta and we won the third leg of the Pick 4. We had gone up to bet a final Pick 3 as well and were alive in that. By the time we got back to the chairs...we saw Sonja talking to...

THE DRUNK GUY

The Drunk Guy was in my chair and rambling non-stop to Sonja. She had a bemused smile on her face. He tried to get up when he saw Tom and I come back, but it wasn't going well for him. I told him to stay seated. He rambled for the next fifteen minutes about everything from coal mines to karate and each pretty girl that walked by. I could tell Tom was getting annoyed with him. Tom finally said he was going for a walk. I stayed. Finally, two other drunk guys showed up and took Drunk Guy with them. The three of them wandered off into the Infield. Wobbling. Laughing.
I wonder how they're feeling this morning...

THE OAKS AND REDEMPTION

After what seemed to be forever, they loaded them up for the Oaks and off they went. Beholder stayed close to the pace, made a move on the final turn and took the lead. I was jumping up and down. She was 9-1 and it looked like no one was going to catch her. I'm hugging Sonja, Tom is screaming "Three, three, three!!" (Beholder's number).

Then, it happened. Someone was roaring down the center of the track. I couldn't make out what the track announcer was saying. I looked at the hat on the jockey. Purple. I looked quickly at my program. Purple hat. Mike Smith on Princess of Sylmar. 37-1. They got to the wire. Smith got a head in front. He won by a neck. I stared dazed at the screen. Second best. We didn't have a #6 (Princeess) in our Pick 4 or Pick 3. I sat down. Prayed for an inquiry. Didn't happen. Still, I had "unbuckled" across the board on Beholder. He paid $9.00 to place and $5.60 to show. I was happy but a bit sad...so close to the win.

Tom and I cursed our luck. We decided to unload on the final race. We loved Paul McGee's #11 Sky Girl. We bet her. We put her in an exacta and trifecta, too. Sonja was done betting. She was way ahead and sat there contentedly.

Sky Girl won for fun at 5-2 odds. We hit the exacta and trifecta as well. A good way to end the day. We packed up our chairs, went to the windows and cashed out.

The walk back to 80 Under 80 was uneventful except for the fact it had started raining as we got to the top of Denny Crum Overpass. The walk had my knee killing me. We got to the car, though...all three of us tired but glad we attended.

Happy Derby folks!

-- Paulie

--

Friday, May 3, 2013


Oaks today. We have a full selection analysis over at Cardinal Couple

www.cardinalcouple.com


Thursday brought an end to Paulie's reign over Churchill. Didn't exactly "lose my shirt"...but my socks are missing. A fun day, though...in the Turf Club for the races, then to the "Post" (yes, I sang 'Gimme Three Steps) and finally Shenanigans. Sonja, Tommy Boy and I were worn out by 10 p.m. Even the St. Louis boys Vince and Alan were tired.

WE try again today. Infield today. Gotta have one afternoon of insanity. No rain!

Pics from yesterday...
A guy named Paul and some lady exchanged hats. Why? No clue..
Sonja and Tommy Boy lookin' GQ!
My lovely little dear!
Alan from St. Louis. A handicapping maniac!
Vince and Tommy Boy.
Sonja ready to punch me out while Tom watches another run second

Bartenders Angie and Christie. Love those two!









 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

WEDNESDAY TO REMEMBER



So...I decided to go to the track on Wednesday. Already been told that the job I love is ending June 28th,...unless I want to move to MEMPHIS. That isn't happening. I make the wife breakfast, I'm off the rest of the week anyway..

I decide to go to see the "boys" at Churchill.

The "boys" know how to handicap. I can't say I add much. The "boys" like me. I like them. We handicap together when we can. Eight of us were together today. We are about twelve strong at times. We go with what we have. They give me a hard time, because I'm not as regular as some of the boys. We get around it. I'm "Paulie" in this group. We have fun. We are what we are. No homophobia, preferences or prejudices here. We like the ponies. That's all that matters.

We're playing Churchill on a Wednesday. We handicap, we do OK, we're a little bit ahead after seven races. We've been upset by a few longshots at Churchill. It happens.

We re-adjust. There is a pick 4 left. Starting in the 8th race. We go to work. It is complicated. We are deep in each "leg". We talk about how much we want to spend. We decide on an amount. It is a $2 wager. It is expensive. We agree on it and toss our cash in. It wasn't gleeful .We're out a chunk of change each. We are well covered, though.

Beers and beverages are purchased. We watch the 8th. race. We are deep in horses here. We get lucky. A 13-1 shot that we've included wins. MY MISS MARY. We are alive with three races to go. We talk about a late pick three as a group and decide against it....as a group. A couple of guys decide to do it. We wish them luck.

The beers are flowing. I am having fun. Trying to keep up. I see a race at Belmont. I like the price on the #1 horse...Jaguar Pew. Javier Castellano is on board. I like him. I like 9-1 also. I have a voucher for !52.00. I go to window. I put $50 across on him. Yep, the beers are talking. I figure that the worst that could happen is I get back to about even.

He wins.

Easily down the stretch. Going away.

$21.20 to win. $7.70 to place and $3.40 to show.

I've just made my day. I am ahead. Huge. And, pretty excited.

We win the second leg of the pick 4., We should have. We had six horses. We get a nice pay from Affair toward the pick 4. We are still alive.

I run into some friends from high school after that. ..while headed to the men's room. We chat. We chat for awhile. I  go back to the table in time to see we've won the 9th. race. Star Struck pays $9.60 to win.

We are still alive.

I answer phone calls and texts before the final race. I am excited. We have four horses. I suggested the #7 horse, Pure Value, when we put the combo together.

He wins. At 6-1.

We are giddy. The pick 4 pays $12,690 on a $2 wager. We have it.

We have one of the guys who is "on file" with the track for tax purposes go cash it. No taxes taken out. We get paid and go to a trendy east-end restaurant and eat and drink champagne. We leave a nice tip.

I finally go home. I take a cab. No condition to drive.  The cabbie was cool. He even was a UofL fan. Even been to WBB games in hoops. Likes Shoni and Shelby. Will be back next year. I think I told him to look me up on media row.

Whatever.

Perfect. He got a good tip. I know where my car is.

I need to go get the car today. I will. Sonja, bemused and incredulous...will take me there.

Sometimes...it just comes together. Will it last through Thursday, Friday and Saturday?

Who knows?

But, it's been fun and good so far....this Derby Week. My head hurts and I'm up and out of bed and on here way too early. I need  to check the Cardinal Couple website. I hope like hell I don't have to do an article...bail me out, Jeff.

Wow. What a day...

-Paulie

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Oaks...folks


They released the post positions Tuesday morning for the Oaks. That's the big race Friday at Churchill Downs, for those of you unfamiliar with horse racing. It took me about 15 minutes to come up with my plays for that race.

Exacta box with BEHOLDER, DREAMING OF JULIA and MIDNIGHT LUCKY.box

Trifecta part wheel with BEHOLDER, DREAMING OF JULIA and MIDNIGHT LUCKY in the top two spots and "ALL" in third.

The exacta box I'll go at least $5 on. Probably more, if the day is going well when I get to the Oaks race. The tribox...I'll wait and see. Definitely $1...maybe more. The tri will run me $54. I think that can be doubled easily. Cheap out, you say? Just box the three above for a mere $6. I'm building in room for a possible "bomber" to maybe get the show pool. I might even look at an "all" in the place spot and the three mentioned above in win and show sports. Just depends.

Haven't looked at the rest of the Oaks card yet. You will have to go to www.cardinalcouple.com to get those jewels on Friday and Saturday. We'll offer advice on the Alysheba Stakes, La Troienne and the American Turf on the Oaks undercard Friday and the article will be up early.

Why the strong love for BEHOLDER, DREAMING OF JULIA and MIDNIGHT LUCKY?

Let's start with BEHOLDER.  This gal dominated the field in the Santa Anita Oaks (GR 1) on April 6th. Garrett "Go-Go" Gomez is one of the best jockeys in the world and trainer Richard Mandella has this filly prined and ready for a big effort Oaks Day. It may just be a matter of how much she wants to win by.

DREAMING OF JULIA destroyed the competition in the Gulfstream Oaks (GR 2) back on March 30th. by an eye-popping 22 lengths! She most likely be the favorite when they go to the post and with good reason...Johnny Velasquez will be on board and Todd Pletcher trains. If Beholder fails..."Julia" will be there to pick up the pieces. Pletcher has four horses in the Oaks. This one is by far the best.

MIDNIGHT LUCKY was barely breathing hard after romping to an eight length lead in the Sunland Oaks. She was particularly impressive in the stretch...just galloping away after contending for the early pace. She's gonna love that long Churchill stretch and could pull the minor upset with cagey Rafael Bejarano in the reigns. Trainer Bob Baffert must be respected here.

So, there you go...an early tidbit for the Kentucky Oaks. Sonja hasn't bothered to look at the race yet. I know she's a big fan of Calvin Borel,though...and Borel is on Rose to Gold in the Oaks.

-Paulie 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Favorite Oaks Memories - 1996


My wife Sonja and I attend the Kentucky Oaks almost every year. Our spot is usually the infield. We tried the Sports Spectrum last year and had a decent time...that won't be an option this year, since the place is over-run with raccoons and other animals and won't be open.

It's just as well. I prefer my final memories of that place to be those of sitting with our buddy Tom at the Champions Bar...our dearly departed buddy Norma and her brother Ron nearby and Charlotte serving up drinks. No raccoons that day. Sonja picking the winner of the Oaks...choosing the only female jockey in the race...Rosie "Nap" getting the job done.

I don't "do" the Derby. Since the late-eighties, we've attend a Derby Party. It's changed locations a few times over the years...but it's always great fun. I have a job each Derby Day. I can't tell you what it is, but I get to see everyone and write stuff down they tell me.

THE PLAN

In 1996, we were ready for the Oaks. We always parked at Reed's house, right on Central Avenue, next to the BP gas station. With my buddies Chris and his wife Linda, we arrived early that morning to help park cars in Reed's back yard and sample Bloody Mary's. The Oaks is run on Friday, for those not familiar with the event...the day before Derby. Back then, it was day-long affair, attending the races, going back to Reed's after the races and drinking until the wee hours of the morning...either hanging out in the back yard or sitting on his front porch...watching the party people walk up and down Central Avenue. They stopped that human parade a few years back. Reed has passed on, also...so we now park at 80 Under 80 and do our thing there...before and after the races.

I devised a plan to smuggle beer into the infield. Each year, I came with a "fool-proof" plan to get the beverages past the check-point and it usually worked. The "false-bottom" cooler idea worked for years, until I got "popped" in 1995 by an over-zealous cub scout, security guy and my beverages were taken away from me. I needed a new plan for 1996 and came up with one. I called Chris and discussed it with him. He liked it. It was two-fold and we stood a good chance of pulling it off.

The idea was to use the bags that one stores fold-up lawn chairs in. By removing the chairs and sliding beer cans into the bags, we discovered that each bag could hold 19 cans of beer. We packed three of these bags full of Budweiser. 57 cans. We also realized that we would need to keep them cold. Part two of the plan was to have Linda roll a wagon in with a cooler on it...full of ice. Underneath the ice was an additional 12 beer. Just in case Plan A failed. If security wanted to check the cooler, it was pre-arranged that their daughter Samantha, who would be sitting atop the cooler, start crying and raising a fuss and refuse to get off the cooler. Eventually, we figured, harried and frustrated security-checkers would just wave her through. Linda had to go to the 4th Street Infield gate to gain entrance. Chris went with her. Sonja and I were going through Gate One.

I was the "mule" for the 57 cans. I hung a bag over each shoulder and one down by back. To cover the obvious...I donned a military parka/raincoat that reached to the ground. The beers were undetectable to the eye. I also had a ball cap on that read "Floor Warden". Why, I have no idea.

HEADED OUT: THE FUMBLE

Mind you, when we left for the track from Reed's around 11 a.m., it was already 70 degrees and no chance of rain, no clouds in the sky. I looked way out of place amongst the t-shirt and shorts crowd headed to the gates. And 57 beers are heavy. Especially under a rain coat. I was sweating profusely by the time we got to Churchill. I can't tell you exactly how many double glances and weird looks I  got from people...but it was quite a few. One guy even told me it wasn't going to rain, why didn't I take the raincoat off? I told him I was a flasher and had nothing on underneath it. He steered his wife and kids away from me.

We got to the search check-point and I walked right by, since I was not carrying anything that needed to be searched. We headed to the admission gates. Back then, you could use your "points" on your Twin Spires Card to gain admission on Oaks and Derby Day. So, all I had to do was hand my card to the cashier, let her scan it and walk right in. I got to the booth window and handed her the card. She scanned it, smiled and told me to have a good day. She handed it back to me.

I dropped it on the ground.

There was no way I could bend over and pick it up without either exposing the beers on me or having them spill out onto the concrete. I was panic-stricken. Standing at the gate, however, was a older gentleman who was a back-up ticket taker or something for Churchill. I had to think, and think quick. Sonja was behind me. No chance of her picking it up for me.

"Sir, I've recently had back surgery and can't bend over. Could you pick that card up for me?" I politely asked.

It was a desperation "three" at the buzzer. He smiled, stooped over and retrieved it. "Have a nice day" he replied, and handed me the card. I walked on. Sonja caught up with me, laughing and giddy. We walked toward the infield tunnel. Victorious. Little did we know what laid ahead..

THE GAUNTLET

As we approached the tunnel, I looked ahead and almost soiled my drawers. In front of me was a squadron of uniformed police officers and deputies. In two columns, about 30 yards apart. I had to walk through the middle of them to gain access to the infield tunnel. I looked so out of place with the raincoat on and sweating in rivets. I started babbling in a Cockney British accent to the startled Sonja.

"By jove, dear...look at it. Legendary Churchill Downs. Quite a bit different that the ol' Epsom Derby. And, look. The Twin Spires! Marvelous, quite right, eh?"

The babble continued. The officers started at me. I smiled at them, and continued the dialogue. I walked quickly through them, praying that one wouldn't approach me. They remained in formation.
I kept going. I cleared them. Sonja snuck a quick peek back and told me..."There's still staring at you." I told her to keep walking. They didn't pursue. We were headed to the tunnel.

GOING THE DISTANCE AND REDEMPTION

It was a long, slow walk through that tunnel to the infield. It was humid and crowded. People hooting and staggering. My back and shoulders felt like I had heavy weights attached to them. My t-shirt was soaked with sweat. We headed to the designated meeting place in the infield. I felt like I was running a marathon. Each step harder and harder. Finally, we got to the patch of grass where we were to meet up. Somehow, amazingly...Chris and Linda had already arrived, even though they had had a much longer trek. I got to the spot, saw Chris drinking a beer and I ripped the raincoat off over my head and raised my arms in triumph. Like Tim Robbins in The Shawshank Redemption when he finally finished crawling through the septic tunnel and reached the stream. I got a big cheer from the surrounding crowd as I took the bags off my body and started dumping beers on the blanket.

MEANWHILE...AT GATE 5....

I told the story of my trip to them. They told me of their tale, too. Sure enough, security wanted to check inside the cooler on the wagon. Samantha refused to budge. Started screaming and crying, not listening to the threats and admonishment of her parents. Finally, after Linda assured them that there was only ice, soft drinks and sandwiches inside, they waved her through. We had 69 cans of beer, it was 11:30 a.m. and it was a beautiful day.

EPILOGUE

Sometime shortly before the final race of the day, Chris and I crashed the two final un-consumed cans of Budweiser together, popped the tops and toasted. Between he and I, Linda and Sonja, Mark and Patty and a few new-found "friends" we had managed to drink all 69 beers. Yes, we were blitzed. Even Sonja, who rarely drinks beer. I can't recall much about the day's events after that. I know Chris and I won some races early. I think we both lost on the Kentucky Oaks race. We made money on the day, though....I'm pretty sure. We headed back to Reed's after the races and partied until the early morning. That may have been the year the guy walked up onto Reed's front yard and smashed a half-full bottle of Jack Daniels over the top of his own head and started screaming that he was Jesus Christ. Years tend to run together.

But, the 57 beer mule haul will never be forgotten...

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Paulie looks at the 139th. Kentucky Derby


I've done a bit of Derby prognostication on the 139th. Kentucky Derby already here on this site. I outlined the horses that were gathering my interest at the time. All pretty solid contenders. You can scroll down and check it out. Send it to a relative or bill collector. I care not. It's my site and I write here about whatever I feel like. Today, it's Derby.

Since then, we've had a few more races that have further clouded the waters. So, this is a revised  bunch of three-year olds that I am on the bandwagon with currently. I do believe, like in past years, there is no clear cut, odds-on favorite in this group of twenty-some contenders.

Based on the last two Derbies (I'll Have Another and Animal Kingdom) expect the unexpected and beware the longshots. Since I don't bet or handicap that way as a rule...I won't give much mention to those longshot contenders today. I will look at the top six horses in my selections first. Throw them all out and find something with a price. Derby is only 11 days away.

Pay close attention to Sonja's picks the day before the Oaks and Derby. She routinely has BIG days at the mutual window and does little handicapping. She has a couple of sources she checks every year for her last-minute, "cramming" for the horse racing 101 final and usually does better than me. No early warnings from Sonja, though. She handicaps (if you can call it that) the day before a race.

So, consider today's posting a tasty appetizer before the main entree. Jeff Walz is not your server, either.

This strange sport of handicapping.

I am still on VERRAZANO as my top pick. He did nothing to make me shy away from him in winning the Wood Memorial in New York and I do believe we saw less than 100% from the Todd Pletcher/John Velazquez trainer jockey duo in their strategy. Saving the big guy, winning and not having to exert much effort while doing so. Velazquez's riding injury is of a bit of concern...but he is expected to return to riding Derby Week and he is a crafty veteran who will negotiate a solid course for the horse.

ORB ran lights out in winning the Florida Derby and is a horse that looks like he can run all day. The mile and a quarter Derby distance shouldn't bother him at the least an he should be contending for the money as they pass the final 1/16th pole down that long, long Churchill Downs stretch. Trained by Shug McGaughey, this one just continues to stronger. Could be there to pick up the trophy if "V" fails. And, Joel (pronounced Joe-Al) Rosario gets the ride. He's made Keeneland his personal pleasure toy this spring, leading the meet in wins and getting VERY LIVE mounts.

GOLDENCENTS. A big win in the Santa Anita Derby. Ah, the connections! Doug O'Neill, he of the hats and loquacious comments. Rick Pitino, part owner of the horse. Unheralded Kevin Krigger in the reigns...a journeyman jockey who is finally getting his 15 minutes in the limelight. And, the horse was very impressive in winning the mile and an eighth on the left coast. Made a strategic move and outran the field to the wire. The only question here is if he can get the distance. I do expect to hear his name among the leaders as they turn for the homestretch at Churchill. The only question is whether he can outfox some very strong closers.

NORMANDY INVASION. I absolutely loved his closing kick (at a huge price) to finish second to Verrazano in the Wood. On that day, if the race had gone another sixteenth of a mile, he would have won. Chad Brown enlists the cagey Javier Castellano for the duties. If "Norm" catches a burn-out pace and can display that same quarter-mile late kick that had spectators raving...he could upset at a decent price. He's also become the "wise guys" pick. Weather conditions might be the only thing keeping him from blowing the doors off the field. A wet, cuppy and deep Churchill dirt...if it rains Derby Day...isn't the easiest to make a lot of ground up in...and "Norm" will be attempting to come out of the clouds as a closer on the first Saturday in May.

ITSMY LUCKYDAY. His second place finish to Orb wasn't a bad outing at all. He was in the lead until the final jumps and will probably sent there on Derby Day to pose as a "come catch me if you can" contender. Calder and Gulfstream Park heroes Edward Plesa and Elvis Trujillo team up on this guy to see if they can "steal" a Derby. He did appear to tire just a little in the Florida Derby at the wire...but given a big enough lead...it may not be a factor. The public probably won't give him much respect at the window and he'll definitely be a part of any "exotic" wagering I consider.

REVOLUTIONARY. Another Pletcher horse, he won the Louisiana Derby as most expected against a so-so field where My Lute, Golden Soul, and Code West were the only serious contenders. All four look to continue the feud at Churchill in the 139th. running. The key change here? Since Javier Castellano has chosen "Norm" ...CALVIN BOREL gets the ride. Repeat. CALVIN BOREL is on aboard. Yeah, that guy. Has won three Kentucky Derbies. Knows the track at Churchill Downs better than I know the contents of a bottle of Bud Select. Calvin Bo"rail"...who takes the shortest distance to the finish line by becoming a hobo and riding the rails. One that cannot be ignored.

These comments are only for entertainment purposes, of course. My buddy J.J. Hysell studies these four-legged warriors much closer than I and you can find her daily reports and updates on line. Just google IN THE MONEY or access her site over at CARDINAL COUPLE on the left side of the site.

I'll be back in a few days with a look at some horses that could surprise at a price. We'll also have Oaks and Derby Picks and Selections over at CARDINAL COUPLE on Friday and Saturday. It's the two days a year we abandon women's sports at UofL and concentrate on horse racing.

Some wish we wouldn't...

-Paulie

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Oh...Hail...no!

Getting pelted by hail isn't an event that I'd heartily recommend to anyone. No, quite the contrary, I advise against it strongly.

I speak from the first person here.

Tuesday night was my encounter. A brutal one at that. I was in my back yard, looking at some potted vegetable and flower plants that I suppose I'll eventually get around to sticking in the ground. A very light rain was falling...not enough to send me ducking for cover yet...but the skies were brutally dark and I figured something nasty could be headed my way.

I was right.

I heard what sounded like gravel being dumped in the distance. Or popcorn popping. This should have been my warning cue to get under shelter or head to the house.

I only had a few more plants to move, though....and I get stubborn sometimes about completing a job, regardless of the consequences.

I looked up and saw it coming. White pieces of ice falling rapidly from the sky. Most about the size of a pea or small marble. I headed toward the back porch...about 50 feet away.

Then, it was if I was being poked and prodded by round objects. And, I was. Rapidly falling hail stones. Off the shoulder, on the leg...two on the arm and one right in the face. I covered my face with my hands and started running (at my age...more like a leisurely trot) toward the enclosed porch.

I was getting pummelled. Top of the head, legs,arms, torso and one big golf-ball sized sucker that nailed me on one of my hands that were protecting my face. I was running, cursing, laughing and hooting all at the same time. It seemed like a minute or so, it was probably less...before I reached the safety of the back porch door and went stumbling in.

One hailstone had even landed in my shirt pocket.

I didn't suffer any injuries. A few stings during the assault, but no permanent damage. (Depending on who you talk to, I suppose)

It true that you never forget the sound of a tornado when it is approaching. I'll never forget the sound of the one in 1974 when I lay on the ground fearing for my life under my golf bag on the seventh-hole fairway near Brownsboro Rd. on Crescent Hill Golf Course.

I'll also never forget the sound of approaching hail as well.

Battered but not beaten by the frozen frenzy, I can chuckle now a day after it. It wasn't too damn funny at the time, though.

Mad Dogs and Englishmen, the saying goes, don't have the sense to come in from the rain. Or sun. I always forget which.

Paulie now has acquired the sense to come in from the hail. All you have to do is listen.

-Paulie

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Destiny ahead? Lady Cards look to shock again tonight


SUNDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

-- TIME TO SHOCK THE WORLD AGAIN...

-- SOFTBALL SWEEPS ST. JOHN'S

-- LACROSSE TODAY

The University of Louisville men's basketball team sent home the Wichita State Shockers last night in come-from-behind fashion to advance to the NCAA Championship game Monday night.

The University of Louisville women's basketball team looks to do a bit of shocking themselves tonight...a win over the #2 seeded California Bears would put the #5 seed Louisville squad into Tuesday night's NCAA Womens' Championship game. Have the Cards rode the redemption train to its final destination? What does the train engineer think?

"No one expects us to win now. I'm sorry, we're seeded fifth. So my thing is, I know we won two games, but we're seeded fifth...and if they expected us to win...we'd be seeded second or third. California is 32-3. They beat Stanford. They're a great basketball team, so we're going to have to figure out a way to win."  -- Jeff Walz.

If the goal is to advance and the advancement has come against two of women's basketball powerhouses over the last two games...could the path to the end of the rainbow be slightly easier now? Cal was expected by many to bow out to #1 seed Stanford in the West Regional finals. Stanford failed to show up, though...and Cal came back to beat a gritty, determined Georgia team to earn a shot in New Orleans.

"I definitely agree that a lot has to go right in order to get to this point, but I also think there's a huge impact that our players have in making things go right. The teams that were in front of us at each stage were really formidable and we had to get the job done."  -- Lindsay Gottlieb

So, how does Louisville fulfill the unthinkable (by some) destiny of playing Tuesday night? Here's five things we hope the Cards can do that will help make the goal attainable:

1) Continue to play loose. The Cards went into the Baylor and Tennessee games thinking they had nothing to lose, since no one expected them to win. The same philosophy needs to be in place tonight. Go out, have some fun, play a little ball and see how it goes. We're the underdog. No pressure, no expectations. Let's hoop!

2) Be effective early. Louisville hopped out to dominant early leads against MTSU, Purdue, Baylor and Tennessee and weathered the storms later. Can we get a refill here?

3) Follow the game plan. Coach Walz and his assistants have had four days to develop a strategy for tonight's game. That's like giving Teddy Bridgewater 20 seconds in the pocket to find an open receiver. Listen to what the man has to say.

4) Go to the boards. A team that earlier in the season avoided rebounding like I avoid beets has shown they can muscle it up inside and grab missed shots. This needs to continue.

5) Score. Louisville had 80 points plus in wins over Baylor and Tennessee. It's a pretty simple concept. Score more than the opponent and you'll win. Shoni needs another 20 point + effort, Nita's threes need to find their mark and double digit efforts out of Sara, Bria, Jude and Mo would be most welcome. Keep the official scorers busy.

Tip is at 6:30 p.m. EDT. We'll be back later tonight with a recap of what we feel confident will be a CARDINAL win.

Let us know what you are thinking and what you are doing in NOLA, at home and even in Atlanta in our comments section! CARDS! CARDS!CARDS!CARDS!CARDS!CARDS!CARDS!

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Louisville softball took two from the St. John's Red Storm yesteday in Queens, NY to improve to 31-6 on the season an 4-1 in BIG EAST play. They survived a 2-run STJ attack in the seventh inning of the first game to win 6-4 in eight innings and quelled the Storm with a 15-0 white-wash in the second game.

CARDS 6 - SJU 4.

It was both a "Good Carl and Bad Carl" performance for the Louisville junior in the pitching circle yesterday...but the bats brought the victory in extra innings.

Connell allowed two first inning runs to the Red Storm and the margin held up for SJU while Louisville looked for a way to dent the Red Storm defense. The fireworks didn't arrive until the fifth innning for the Cardinal bats. Maggie Ruckenbrod started the inning with a deep double and Whitney Arion's fielders choice tapper advanced her to third and Arion was safe at first. Hannah Kiyohara connected for her second home run of the season...barely clearing the left-center fence to give Louisville a 3-2 advantage.

Louisville added a run in the sixth when Taner Fowler reached on an infield single and rode home on a Kayla Soles single.

The Red Storm blustered back in the bottom of the seventh. An opening home run narrowed the gap and two walks and a single loaded the bases with no outs. A sacrifice fly tied it and the Johnnies later had the bases loaded again with two outs but Carl delivered a strike out to end the rally and send the game into extra innings.

The Cards got Kiyohara help again in the top of the eighth. After Soles reached on a grounder and Jasmine Smithson-Willett drew a walk, Kiyohara drilled one down the left field line. Soles scored and a wle. ild throw from left trying to pick her off at the plate allowed JSW to score from first.

Connell shut SJU down in the bottom of the eight to improve her record to 20-2 on the season. Kiyohara has 5 RBI's for Louisville.

LOUISVILLE 15 - SJU 0

Rachel LeCoq took to the pitching stripe for the second game and delivered a four hit, six strike-out performance in five innings for UofL. The Cardinal bats went wild in this one.

One run in the first when Katie Keller led off with a walk and scored on a Jordan Trimble single. Louisville made it 2-0 in the third after Jasmine Smithson-Willett singled and reached the plate on Katie Keller's double.

The Cards blasted four runs across in the four. Singles from Kiyohara and Arion and a walk to Katelynn Mann set the stage for a JSW double off the wall in left to make it 4-0. Keller's sacrifice fly scored Mann and Trimble's single brought JSW home to give Louisville a 6-0 cushion.

The Birds really flew high in the fifth with nine runs. Walks to Fowler, Kiyohara, Arion and JSW produced a run. Keller singled to score Kiyohara for an 8-0 lead. Trimble cleaned the bases with a grand slam home run over centerfield (the second of her career) to push it to 12-0. Wolny got plunked by a pitch next and Fowler singled to set it up for a double from Kiyohara that scored both. The Cards tacked on their 15th run when Arion singled to score Kiyohara.

The two will face again today at 2 p.m.

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Lacrosse gives you a chance to get your shouting an early test today with a noon game against Marquette at the Louisville Lacrosse field. It's the first season for Marquette lacrosse, so the cheering for Red and Black scores should come pretty often.

Louisville comes off a heartbreaking, double overtime 16-15 loss to Notre Dame. IT does show, however...how far Lacrosse has come this season...taking #7 in the nation to two extra sessions and actually leading by three goals midway through the second half.

Get out and give our fantastic freshmen "All the way" Kay Morissette and Cortnee "Racy" Lacey some love and see Nikki Boltja and Katie Oliverio send shots past the mis-matched Marquette defenders.

Big fun, that Lacrosse is...go get some!

-Paulie

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Big Ed and the "Can't Miss"

All these basketballs flying around take me back to the days when I laced up my Chuck Taylor high-tops and ran menancingly up and down the court. And the story of Big Ed.

Big Ed was the ultimate practice player. He had a "can't miss" jumper from deep on the baseline left corner that would always tickle the nets. Would have been a three-pointer in today's game...just a long "two" back then. But, come game time....Ed, a reserve forward, couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. The "blimp ball"...as we calle it back then...was The Hindenburg in games.

Two years on the varsity and nary a point. Plenty of attempts in blow-out games...but no points scores. In practice, he was Pete Maravich. In games, Pete the Dog.

We made it to Freedom Hall our senior year. Playing in the Regionals, and won our first contest. But, faced against one of the best teams to play in Louisville in the mid-seventies...we were getting killed in the game that could take us to the state tournament. I fouled out in the fourth quarter and Coach summonded Big Ed from the bench to replace me. Two minutes left and we were down plenty.

Ed gets his chance with about a minute to go. Wide open, on the baseline at Freedom Hall. Gets the pass, the patented Ed "blimp ball takes flight...and....

Air ball.

With 15 seconds to go, the second  opportunity arises. A steal by one of our guards and Ed is filling the left lane on the fast break. Perfect pass, he puts up the left-handed layup and it goes thru!

Whistle. Travelling. No basket.

Somewhere, Big Ed is probably still canning that baseline jumper. Just don't put him in, coach.

( Update...I did talk to Big Ed, who now lives in southern Kentucky. He still shoots around with his son and grandson in his driveway. Still "can't miss" from the baseline...according to him.)