Kate Hogan
May 04, 2013 02:45 PM

When we last saw Uggie, the adorable Jack Russell terrier from 2011’s The Artist, he was taking the stage at the 84th annual Academy Awards to accept his Best Picture Oscar with his castmates. But these days, the beloved pooch is up to something, well, a little different.

“I’m not normally a betting dog, but now that I’m semi-retired from acting, I’m trying out a few new tricks and am working on my blackjack game for Las Vegas,” Uggie tells PEOPLEPets through his pal, author Wendy Holden. So since the little guy is suddenly all about gambling, we thought that given his animal instincts, he might be able to tell us who will win at Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. Here’s what he had to say:

“My first pick would almost certainly be itsmyluckyday (above), for obvious reasons. Has there ever been a rescue dog luckier or more internationally loved as moi?”

“My second pick would have to be Giant Finish in homage to my international bestselling memoir, My Story, which tells of my rags to riches tale. It marked my retirement, so what a way to ‘finish!’”

“My final choice is Fear the Kitten, which reminds me of a bittersweet incident known as ‘Cat-Gate’ in which, as a rambunctious pup, I had a deadly encounter with a particularly vicious feline.” (Intrigued as we are? You can read more about that moment in Uggie’s book.)

Not only are the stakes high for the horses, but for aspiring gambler Uggie, too.

“If I do well in the Kentucky Derby, this could be a whole new ballgame for me,” he says proudly. But regardless of who wins – and who wins him a few bones – the dog has a sweet message for Saturday’s contenders. “Good luck to one and all. Love and licks!”

Who do you think will win this Saturday’s Kentucky Derby? Why?

PHOTOS: PEOPLEPets Editors Pick Five Derby Contenders!

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