Saturday, May 07, 2011


Third Time’s the Charm


SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, May 7, 2010--Sometimes, figures and trips don’t matter. All that matters is intervention, divine and otherwise.

How is it that you can lose your best chance to win a Kentucky Derby, reschedule a workout because for the last two weeks 20 inches of rain fell on my old Kentucky home, and win with an unknown quantity?

Which is not to say without portfolio, because stakes winners, horses that win over whatever surface they are asked to negotiate, have ability. What’s not knowable is what will happen based on the past.

So the rescheduled workout turned out to be a great one, the trainer told a national television audience on the walk over to immortality. Is that the kind of evidence you could take confidently to a betting window?

Then your jockey gets hurt, a leading Hall of Fame candidate becomes available because the near Derby favorite that he was about to ride was scratched for third year in a row, and all of a sudden you‘re being interviewed by Bob Costas on national television.

If you don’t think this game can get real crazy at times, and you don’t believe in things like fate, then the Kentucky Derby probably isn’t for you.

Actually, the best line to describe all this was written by a correspondent for the Associated Press: “John Velazquez won the Kentucky Derby by a broken nose.”

And it wasn’t like trainer Graham Motion could have seen it coming either; probably didn’t know at the time that the people who own Animal Kingdom would replace the trainer who won them a Breeders’ Cup last year and traded him in for one that would win them a Derby.

You can’t make this up.

Well, now, Animal Kingdom goes on to Baltimore and Motion to his home state of Maryland for the black-eyed susans run in two weeks. Given the way he finished yesterday, who’s to say it won’t happen all over again.

Only this time without any intervention, divine or otherwise.

Written by John Pricci


Accompanying Photo Gallery to "Racing to the Kentucky Derby".
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