LOUISVILLE, Ky., May 3, 2013 — The post positions are now set for the Kentucky Derby. Co-favorites Verrazano and Orb will run from post positions 14 and 16 respectively, not the most desirable, while Goldencents (5-1), partly owned by U of L coach Rick Pitino, and Giant Finish (50-1) trained by Tony Dutrow start from gates seven and eight, right in the center.
Fate is funny and some things just don’t make sense. It’s the luck of the draw, held earlier this week.
While a smooth, safe ride and a victory at the end is the goal of every rider, there are three n this year’s Derby with fascinating back stories that seem to give them an edge, at least in the bettors’ minds.
Rosie Napravnik will come out of position six on Mylute, at 15-1, and hopes to be the first woman to ride a Derby winner home. She’s been in the racing world for years, started riding at six in pony trials, and lives for the saddle. Many a ticket will be purchased by the distaff side hoping to see her bring that horse home.
Kevin Krigger is on Goldencents, and has a hope just as fervent as Ms. Napravnik’s, from a different perspective. He hopes to be the first black jockey to win a Derby since the late, great Jimmy Winkfield won in 1902 on Alan-a-Dale. Krigger hails from St. Croix in the Caribbean and told his grandmother at age six that he wanted to be a jockey. In the early days of the Derby, all jockeys were black, and they set a high bar for those coming after them. For Winkfield it was two in a row; he’d ridden His Eminence to victory the year before.
An old name and an old favorite is taking a new start this year, well known jockey Gary Stevens is coming out of retirement, leaving his position as a color commentator for NBC to ride D. Wayne Lukas’ horse, Oxbow (30-1) out of post position two.
Stevens retired in 2005 with recurring knee problems, but decided the old fire “had been reignited” and he wanted to ride again, as he hits 50. He’s already ridden three Derby winners, so this is far from his first rodeo.
Movie fans will remember Stevens for his portrayal of legendary jockey George Woolf in the movie “Seabiscuit.”
Among these three driven jockeys with such varied and diverse backgrounds, surely one of them will take home the blanket of red roses when the Derby ends.
There are some 17 other horses entered, with at least five carrying early odds of 50-1: Black Onyx, Golden Soul, Giant Finish, Falling Sky, and Frac Daddy; two carry 30-1 odds — Oxbow and Lines of Battle, and two carry 20-1 odds: Palace Malice, Charming Kitten, and Will Take Charge.
Those who follow Calvin Borel avidly will want to know that he is on board Revolutionary, one of Todd Pletcher’s five entries, going off from Post Position 3 at 10-1. That’s close to the rail for the New Orleans favorite, who likes to stick close to it.
Right now the uncooperative weatherman is predicting something like 10-1 odds that we will have rain on Saturday, which could blow the whole scheme of things straight in the air. Some horses like mud and dirt and others don’t. For the sake of so many who come so far for this spectacular race, we can only hope that the “sun shines bright on My Old Kentucky Home” and on Churchill Downs as well, for this 139th running.
And they’re OFF!!
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