Handicapping the Kentucky Derby with screencaps from The Office

You can go to any number of sources and find thoughtful, pertinent analysis of this year's Kentucky Derby field, from just about every angle imaginable. Instead, you've found yourself on the website of the guy who looks at the race via haiku. I save my thoughtfulness for the day job.

As such, I'm always looking to find new, unorthodox ways to analyze the Kentucky Derby field. In addition to The Haiku Handicapper, I broke down last year's Derby by assigning each runner an emoji to best suit their chances or characteristics. I had a few ideas kicking around in my head for this year's race, so I put up to a Twitter vote, and this was the result....


So be it. The Office is one of my favorite shows, and thanks to the wonders of Netflix, I've watched most of the episodes enough times to recall the scenes that can apply to everyday life. If I come across a plasma screen TV, I know what to say before I even say it.

With this back catalog of Office quotes rattling around in my brain, I wanted to see if I could assign a fitting screencap and/or quote to each entry in this year's Kentucky Derby. No commentary, no context. Just the horse's name and a screencap. This turned out to be a bigger challenge than one might think, but it also produced some pleasant surprises.

Once you're done reading, be sure to share this post with your friends on WUPHF!

#1 - Firenze Fire

Firenze Fire.jpg

#2 - Free Drop Billy

Free Drop Billy.jpg

#3 - Promises Fulfilled

Promises Fulfilled.jpg

#4 - Flameaway


#5 - Audible


#6 - Good Magic

Good Magic.jpg

#7 - Justify


#8 - Lone Sailor

Lone Sailor.jpg

#9 - Hofburg


#10 - My Boy Jack

My Boy Jack.png

#11 - Bolt d'Oro

Bolt d'Oro.jpg

#12 - Enticed


#13 - Bravazo


#14 - Mendelssohn


#15 - Instilled Regard

Instilled Regard.jpg

#16 - Magnum Moon

Magnum Moon.png

#17 - Solomini


#18 - Vino Rosso

Vino Rosso.jpg

#19 - Noble Indy

Noble Indy.png

#20 - Combatant


#21 AE - Blended Citizen

Blended Citizen.jpg

The Haiku Handicapper: 2018 Kentucky Derby

Joe Nevills, sales editor for the Daily Racing Form and columnist for Arabian Finish Line, analyzes the 2018 Kentucky Derby field in the form of Haiku; a Japanese poem of 17 syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five.

#1 - Firenze Fire
Dinked and dunked for points
One turn appears his best fit
This is not his race

#2 - Free Drop Billy
Hard to get too jazzed
When a four-length margin is
Closest loss this year

#3 - Promises Fulfilled
The front of nothing
Still got him nothing last out
A tiring rival

#4 - Flameaway
Never ducks a fight
Prefer him in the Preakness
Love for the Queen's Plate

#5 - Audible
His resume's stout
But future glories could lie
Among the milers

#6 - Good Magic
The Eclipse winner
Did his job in the Blue Grass
Might need one more gear

#7 - Justify
Much-hyped wunderkind
Shrugged off the class jump with ease
Apollo's boots shake

#8 - Lone Sailor
Ran a lifetime best
Off optional claimer loss
Hard to picture it

#9 - Hofburg
Juddmonte Farms doesn't
Mess around breeding cheap speed
If not here, Belmont

#10 - My Boy Jack
The field's deep closer
In tough when the race's best
Have high cruising speeds

#11 - Bolt d'Oro
A stark lack of love
For a two-race hundred-plus
Beyer figure streak

#12 - Enticed
Truly blue-blooded
Sleeper vibes if you forgive
Bumpy Big A trip

#13 - Bravazo
Methinks the truth leans
Toward his ugly last effort
Than Risen Star shock

#14 - Mendelssohn
Top-dollar prospect
Harangued by travel headaches
Ceiling's still sky-high

#15 - Instilled Regard
Survived the bubble
He was there for a reason
Little momentum

#16 - Magnum Moon
Tallied the most points
Showed true colors at Oaklawn
Still a shade of green

#17 - Solomini
Never off the board
But has a nose for trouble
Can't have that luck here

#18 - Vino Rosso
Topped Wood like a pro
Collmus likes saying his name
Could be Todd's third string

#19 - Noble Indy
Not much to pick at
But not enough to enthrall
Keep low on tickets

#20 - Combatant
Always in the hunt
But enters the race seeking
His first stakes triumph

#21 AE - Blended Citizen
Summer potential
But he's just not fast enough
To challenge this field

Down goes Apollo
The fervor is Justified
Then Bolt, 14, nine

The Haiku Handicapper: 2017 Kentucky Derby

Joe Nevills, sales editor of the Daily Racing Form and columnist for Arabian Finish Line, analyzes the Kentucky Derby field in post position order in the form of haiku - a Japanese poem of 17 syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five.

#1 - Lookin at Lee
Closer from Oaklawn
Hasn't won since Ellis Park
Wait for softer fields

#2 - Thunder Snow
Global vagabond
Can run on any surface
But doomed by his post

#3 - Fast and Accurate
His best dirt Beyer
Would win a nice allowance
At a county fair

#4 - Untrapped
Minor check-getter
Vanished in last Oaklawn prep
This pool is too deep

#5 - Always Dreaming
High-upside prospect
Most dominant last effort
Feels like a bounce threat

#6 - State of Honor
Knows how to cash checks
By hanging on to placings
After ceding leads

#7 - Girvin
Leading point-getter
Grapples with ill-timed hoof woes
Don't expect Big Brown

#8 - Hence
Was his last that good
Or the rest that average?
Not buying the hype

#9 - Irap
Trainer Doug O'Neill
Didn't grow his Derby beard
All you need to know

#10 - Gunnevera
Will stage a late charge
Can scrap it out for a check
If the clouds don't part

#11 - Battle of Midway
Couldn't hang on in
Slowest Santa Anita
Derby in three score

#12 - Sonneteer
Fewer winning trips
Than stablemate Patch has eyes
That fact won't change here

#13 - J Boys Echo
Was his big Gotham
The true showcase of his class
Or an outlier?

#14 - Classic Empire
High-maintenance star's
Two toughest rivals could be
His head and the crowd

#15 - McCraken
A Blue Grass bummer
But Churchill Downs is his yard
Don't give up on him

#16 - Tapwrit
High-dollar yearling
Hype deflated at Keeneland
Excused or exposed?

#17 - Irish War Cry
Stellar Wood triumph
Makes his Fountain of Youth choke
Just so confounding

#18 - Gormley
Someone had to win
That chug-fest in his last prep
Is there one more gear?

#19 - Practical Joke
Standout 2-year-old
Couldn't pass flagging Irap
That's hard to ignore

#20 - Patch
Having just one eye
Not as big a handicap
As Apollo's curse

#21/AE - Royal Mo
Wrong side of bubble
But it's hard to get too jazzed
From pokey last start

#22/AE - Master Plan
Last horse in by points
Took an unorthodox route
To watch from the bench

Home-track advantage
Carries McCraken home first
Then "War Cry," Tapwrit