Lexington's Rotary Club held its annual pre-Kentucky Derby meeting Thursday.
Attendees at the midday event received an update from the head of Keeneland which, this year, included a newcomer.
Keeneland President Bill Thomason offered a recap of the track's just-completed spring meet, then turned his attention to Saturday’s Run for the Roses.
He called upon 21-year-old BETologist, or racing fan educator, Tom Kudla to offer his picks. Kudla, from Chicago says he’s been told he went to the track for the first time with his dad at two weeks old, “I started getting into kind of handicapping and really reading through this when I was about nine or ten."
"My dad used to give me about six bucks to kind of pretend bet with and I kind of have just gone from there and I just love it,” explained Kudla.
Kudla offered Rotarians his take on many of the Derby horses including Patch, the one-eyed three-year-old Thoroughbred. “Patch is number 20, so he will be on the far outside and because his left eye is gone, he’s not gonna see everyone, so he’s gonna be thinking he’s running all by himself, so it will be fun to see how well he does,” Kudla said to a laughing crowd.
Kudla’s second pick for the Derby is Irish War Cry with his favorite being Always Dreaming. Meanwhile, Thomason’s number one choice is Classic Empire.