"Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel"

My new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" is the follow-up to "Illegal Procedure" and "Roughing the Passer" and is now available in print and in e-formats at amazon.com, smashwords.com and iBooks. Follow me on twitter @kevinkrest.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

DERBY DAY THOUGHTS: CROWDED FIELDAT CHURCHILL DOWNS, NBA PLAYOFFS HEAT UP, TIGER STILL AWOL

Back to Back Triple Crowns? Probably not, based on history, but with unbeaten Nyquist leading the crowded field, there's always a possibility. You have to look at the number 13 post position and worry if the betting favorite can battle through the field and take a victory. There are also four other Grade 1 stakes race winners among the twenty horses entered, so there could be plenty of competition down the stretch in Lexington. The tough thing about the Derby is that none of these horses has ever run at the distance of a mile and a quarter before. A mile and an eighth is the longest any of them have run, making it difficult to handicap how they'll do with an extra 220 yards added to the track. At this writing, Nyquist at 7 - 0 in his career, is a 2 -1 favorite with Exaggerator next at 5 - 1. In addition to the difficult post position, Nyquist also has only run two races this year. Exaggerator has run the most races of any horse entered and also races every month, with four under his belt this year. But he is also wedged in the middle of the field, running out of the number 11 post position. I like Exaggerator, and I also think that even though the bettors don't seem to share my opinion, Suddenbreakingnews, currently at 25 -1, could make some noise. I don't always tune in to the Derby, but this year might be something special, so I'll be watching.

Raptors Even it Up: Before Dwayne Wade and Lebron James square off in a love fest in the Eastern Conference finals, the Miami Heat need to get past the Toronto Raptors. After stealing game one in Toronto in a game where All-Star Kyle Lowry couldn't seem to hit the backboard, much less the rim. However, in game two, Lowery bounced back and the Raptors head to South Beach with a little more confidence and chip on their collective shoulders. Toronto challenged Cleveland all season for the best record in the Eastern Conference, but have not been given much respect my the media. Once again, the buzz is not about the Raptors, but about the expectation that Lebron James will have to get past his former team to take his current and other former team to the Finals. The good news for the Cavs is that whoever emerges from that series will probably have to go six or seven games. Cleveland can close out the Hawks tomorrow and sit back and rest up for their next series. With Wade getting long in the tooth, the more games he has to play, logic would dictate that his performances will diminish the farther they advance. The bigger issue is how the Cavaliers are storming through the playoffs, currently 7 - 0 and making three pointers at a higher rate than if they were playing in a game of H-O-R-S-E. After some early season doubt whether James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love could really put it together, it's pretty obvious that behind mid-season coaching replacement Tyrone Lue, they've figure it out. I've heard a number of commentators still maintain that the Cavs can't beat the Warriors or Spurs. I honestly don't know what games they've been watching, but Cleveland is hitting on all cylinders and if they continue doing so, I don't think anyone can take them out.

Tiger Woods Not in for Sawgrass: Not many golfers can make more news by not playing than most players do by winning a tournament. But no other golfer is Tiger Woods, who hasn't teed it up competitively since last August and he didn't enter next week's Players. Rumors abound about when Woods will finally return to the golf course, but the fact is that probably no one, including Tiger himself, knows for sure. A premature comeback could result in another injury, one that would almost surely be career-ending for the guy I think is the greatest player of all time. Selfishly, I hope he shows up somewhere between the Players and the Memorial, giving him a chance to make the cut at the U.S. Open because I have tickets to the final round. But if I'm to be totally realistic, although Woods is exempt for the Open and has reportedly already booked accommodations, it's highly umlikely he'll be playing at Oakmont on Fathers' Day. But that doesn't mean I can't hope to be watching Tiger walking the fairways of the course where he finished second to Angel Cabrera in 2007.

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" and my first two, "Illegal Procedure - A PK Frazier Novel" and "Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel", available in print and e-formats at Amazon.com, iBooks and SmashwordsTune into www.WPFLRADIO.com at 8:40 am EST every Friday for my Beyond the Commentary segment on "Lou in the Morning" with Lou Vickery and Jonathan McMath.