The 136th Kentucky Derby is this Saturday with a post time of 6:24pm. A lot of the discussions this week are around whether or not this is the last time the race will be run during the day. Churchill Downs now has permanent lights installed at the track so the move to primetime seems almost inevitable. The Derby is one of the bigger sporting events of the year and if you can position the event to a larger television audience then why wouldn’t they make the plunge? The move would even make the event better for the actual spectators at the Derby because they could have a 20-race card and a few more mint juleps while waiting in anticipation for ‘the most exciting two minutes in sports.’
After spending the better part of the day chasing that little white ball around the woods, I found myself sitting in a local drinking establishment contemplating my choices of beer and eagerly awaiting the 135th running of the grandest of sporting events, the Kentucky Derby.
If you thought that the most outlandish and absurd storyline that would come out of Saturdays race was who had the most hideous hat, you obviously didn’t wait for the final two minutes of on your feet excitement that begins with the starters bell.
As the bell rang, the gates flew open releasing 19 of the most graceful beasts you will ever see compete, bumping and jarring their way into position. One horse was sandwiched between two others right out of the gate, nearly tripping and he eased off falling several lengths behind.
As the rest of the field took off down the front stretch, this 50-1 odds favorite took pursuit. I’m sure his jockey urged his ride on, hoping for a miracle, but knowing that now the odds were really against them.
All eyes were focused on the top of the field and on their favorites whose numbers were listed on their betting slips. No one was noticing that the horse who was way in the back was closing a seemingly insurmountable distance with every stretch of his legs.
Then the horses reached the fourth turn and it seemed that the race would be decided between the top 5 horses.
And then that miracle happened.
Some how this horse that was in absolute dead last made a charge to the front. From at least 17 lengths down comes the most unlikely of superstars…Mine That Bird. This 50-1 long shot had somehow made up an unheard of distance and then weaved his way through traffic to not only win the Kentucky Derby, but he won it going away, by an impressive 6 3/4 lengths.
Not bad for a horse that was originally purchased for only $9,500. A horse that everyone else said should never have even been entered. Just to give you an idea of what a steal this was…Dunkirk who finished 19 lengths behind Mine That Bird was purchased for $3.7 million.
I think I’d ask for my money back.