Denny’s Daily Zinger: A Sports Writer Eats Crow With Egg on His Face

The illustrations in the media player at right say it all.
Why California Chrome Won’t Win the Kentucky Derby
Here Are Six Reasons to Look Beyond the Likely Favorite in
the Run for the Roses
Here’s a safe bet for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby: California Chrome will be one of the biggest favorites in recent history. But that doesn’t mean he is a good bet
—Jim Chairusmi

Above are the head, deck and lede of The Wall Street Journal story on April 30.

I love the ponies.

In the 1970s, I spent Saturdays studying the Racing Form and wagering an occasional $2 with off-track betting.

I learned three things about handicapping:

  1. Like everything in life, rules exist.
  2. Go deep into the “Past Performances” statistics and, with luck, twice a day a horse will jump out of the numbers and shout “BET ON ME!”
  3. Success with the ponies is knowing when NOT to bet.

The six reasons California Chrome was “sure to lose” were rules pulled out of Jim Chairusmi’s hat—the one he ate with his helping of crow.

Read Jerry Bossert’s delicious California Chrome story in The New York Daily News. It will make your heart go pitty-pat.


Takeaways to Consider:

  • “To win in life, play the rules better than everybody else.” —Bob Hacker
  • “Or break the rules better than everybody else.” —Bob Hacker
  • If you don’t know the rules, keep your mouth shut.
  • God, this is sweet!
  • On to the Preakness!

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Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

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  • Tim Orr

    Three quotes come to mind:

    1. "In a two-horse race, always tout the outsider. If you’re wrong, no one will remember, but if you’re right, you will be hailed as a genius."

    2. "All horseplayers die broke."

    3. "The battle is not always to the strong nor the race to the swift. But that’s the way to bet."

    Those last two are from a favorite of mine, Damon Runyon. The first was from a retired sportswriter.

  • Peter Hochstein

    America used to love the underdog, and perhaps his day is returning. Love for the little guy, the honest schlemiel with a big dream, the principled loser who finally rises up and wins, is why championing the underdog at times has worked in everything from business (why Apple developed a fiercely loyal following back when Microsoft was king, and why the ugly little Volkswagon beetle once ate Plymouth’s lunch); to movies ranging from comedies like The Mouse That Roared to westerns like High Noon; to advertising ("They laughed when I sat down at the piano.")

    As massive amounts of wealth get concentrated into fewer and fewer hands, I think underdog heroism will become a resurgent American theme, just as it was in the Great Depression when Mr. Smith went to Washington.