I've been known to come to Presque Isle Downs and Casino to watch live horse racing. I also like to stop by the casino in May to place a bet on the Kentucky Derby. I usually pick a horse based on its name.  But this year, I want to be a little more scientific.

For years, I've watched other bettors with their programs and their pencils. They were absorbing all the data and studying all the horses. I've wondered what information they were looking for.  Well, this year I've enlisted a mentor...Patrick Morell.  He's the simulcast host for the live racing at Presque Isle Downs. He loves the Kentucky Derby.

"It is the greatest two minutes in sports.  There's no question about that. Everybody gravitates to the race every year,” says Patrick.

Patrick says betting on horse racing is a very cerebral game. If you want to do well, you have to grab a program and do your homework. He says the program will show if a horse has early speed out of the gate.  Some people look for that.  However, Patrick says there's not many horses in this year’s Kentucky Derby that have early speed.

"I think that might be a little bit of an angle,” he says.  “The one Todd Pletcher horse very much loves the front end and he may be OK this year.  Kingsbarns.  That horse of Pletcher has the best early speed.  Let's see if anybody goes with him."

Patrick admits that it does take luck for a horse to win the Kentucky Derby.  He says a horse needs what he calls a ‘clean trip.’  That's having an open lane from the start to the finish line with no traffic in the way.  Sometimes a deep closer can find that open lane. The program has information on those horses too.

"There are plenty of deep closers this year,” says Patrick. 

Patrick liked Practical Move as a deep closer but that horse has been scratched from the field due to a fever.  Patrick's top closers now are Angel of Empire and Tapit Trice. 

Wow.  Many horses have a shot to win.   It's hard to choose.  Patrick says a novice handicapper like me might want to box all my selections in an exacta.  I can choose as many horses as I want to come in first and second. Any combo of those selections could pay off.   It’s time to bet.

After listening to Patrick, I'm going to put two dollars on Kingsbarns to win.  But, going by my old system of picking a horse by its name, I'm going to pick Two Phil's because I used to have a news director named Phil.

Want to join in the Kentucky Derby excitement?  Presque Isle Downs and Casino will host a Kentucky Derby 'Party on the Patio.'  It will begin at 2p.m. Saturday and will feature food trucks, an outside bar, and the broadcast of the race on the big outdoor screen.   A Fancy Hat Contest will begin at 5 p.m.