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Jockey Calvin Borel celebrates while Super Saver parades for the fans after winning the Kentucky Derby
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The 136th running of the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) saw one of the most contentious fields in recent memory. With the defection of expected heavy favorite Eskendereya early in the week, the race was suddenly wide open. A full field of 19 three-year-olds including one filly went to post before a crowd of 155,804 at Churchill Downs, the sixth largest in history. Because of steady rains overnight and during most of the undercard, the track was sloppy (sealed), with the temperature in the mid 70's, however the weather gods were generous after all that rain, clearing out the clouds just in time for the Run for the Roses.
Last year's champion juvenile Lookin at Lucky was sent off as the lukewarm 6-1 favorite, exiting a troubled third place finish in the Santa Anita Derby after winning the Rebel Stakes, however he drew the very unfavorable inside post. Super Saver, winless since the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes last November, was the 8-1 second choice off his close second place finish in the Arkansas Derby. Santa Anita Derby winner Sidney's Candy was the 9-1 third choice, winner of three straight coming in including the San Vicente and the San Felipe, but making his first start on dirt after racing exclusively on synthetic surfaces in California and drawing the far outside. The rest of the field was at double digit odds but given how evenly matched the field was on paper going in, the longest shot on the board was Discreetly Mine at just 31-1.
Super Saver draws off in the stretch.
Super Saver wins the Kentucky Derby
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 4 Super Saver Borel 18.00 8.80 6.00 2 Ice Box Lezcano 11.20 8.00 10 Paddy O'Prado Desormeaux 7.40 Winning Time: 2:04.45 $2 Exacta 4-2 152.40 $2 Trifecta 4-2-10 2,337.40 $2 Superfecta 4-2-10-9 202,569.20 $2 Oaks/Derby Double 56.60
Left: Super Saver heads to the winner's circle with his flower blanket. Winning jockey Calvin Borel, who also won the Derby in 2007 aboard Street Sense and 2009 aboard Mine That Bird, said, "I had an awesome feeling that he would run good. I rode him here last year in the mud and I rode him at Oaklawn. He didn't win that day, but I knew he was a better horse than that. He broke sharp and where I wanted to be, 8 lengths off, which was very good, in a 20-horse field. I was in a spot whenever a horse would come up to me, I would let him run off a little bit so that they wouldn't come in front of me and get over. My only concern going into the race, was to see if he still had a punch, and when I got him to quarter pole, I still had some horse under me. When I went around one horse and got to the other one, and from there on, I knew nothing was going to run him down. "
Right: Jockey Calvin Borel kisses the Derby trophy in the winners circle after his third Derby win in 4 years. WinStar Farm president Doug Cauthen, brother of jockey Steve Cauthen who won the last Triple Crown aboard Affirmed, said, When Steve won it, I was 15, and it was a bad lesson, because I thought, oh, by the time I'm 18, 19, I'll train a Derby winner. I learned that it was going to take a lot longer, and I got involved in the management side and it's just a blessing to have this opportunity. It's Steve's birthday today, too. So it was a good day to win it."
Left: Super Saver heads back to the barn after the Derby. His trainer Todd Pletcher, winning his first Kentucky Derby said, "Obviously it's a race I've dreamed my whole life about winning. The one thing I wanted to do was win while my parents were still here to see it. Obviously Calvin was in a beautiful spot the whole way. We knew he would like the safe ground and only thing I told him was, ride him like you own him, and, don't forget about getting a lead change. He's an instinctive rider and he knows the horse well. Calvin Borel is a great rider anywhere he goes, but for some reason, at Churchill Downs, he's even five lengths better. Calvin already said he's going to win the Triple Crown, so I guess we'd better go there."
Right: Super Saver in the post parade. Co-owner Bill Casner of WinStar Farm said, "Doug Cauthen and Elliott Walden took this mare out, Supercharger (dam of Super Saver), she's a full sister to Bluegrass Cat, which Todd trained, ran second. It all starts there. And then our team at WinStar has done an unbelievable job. It's almost surreal. We love this business. We do it because we love the horses. And when you've can walk into that winner's circle in the Kentucky Derby, it's just like putting a cherry on top of that ice cream, because we feel like we eat ice cream every day when we are in this business."
Left: Second place finisher Ice Box as they pass by for the first time. His trainer Nick Zito said, "I couldn't get lucky enough to beat Calvin but (Ice Box) did get me second. He ran a great race. I have to be happy with the way he ran today, he put in a great run." Jockey Jose Lezcano added, "The horse didn't break that good and had to check a little at the break. At the 1/2 mile pole he started running, but I didn't want to go wide in a 20 horse field. I had to check at the 1/4 pole, but he came again and made a big run."
Right: Third place finisher Paddy O'Prado in the post parade. His trainer Dale Romans said, "He ran so big for us. I thought we were going to win. I'm very proud of him, he just ran super. You couldn't ask any more from the horse." Jockey Kent Desormeaux added, "I got stopped cold at the 1/4 pole. If I got through I would have won. He stumbled real bad here at the 1/16 pole. He must have stepped in a hole. My horse ran his heart out. He just didn't have the luck.
Left: Fourth place finisher Make Music for Me in the post parade. His trainer Alexis Barba, in her first Derby, added, "I'm quite happy with him. He had me a little worried he was so far back, but I saw him making up ground in the backstretch. We'll sit down with the owner and talk about the Preakness." Jockey Joel Rosario added, "He's such an easy horse to ride. I wanted to make sure he was clear when he made his run. He ran a good race."
Right: Beaten favorite and sixth place finisher Lookin at Lucky heads in to the paddock before the race. His trainer Bob Baffert said, "I lost all chance at the post position draw when I drew the 1. Everything had been going so smooth and great and then boom, right in the 1 hole. I quit watching him after the first bump. He was done. I wish Garrett would have pulled him up." Jockey Garrett Gomez added, "I figured that if I got shuffled back where I was he, he would start to pick them up. He wasn't helping me a whole lot. I picked most of the field up and I started splitting. He started putting in an OK run. At about the 1/8 pole he flattened out. There were too many things going on today. I got bumped 2 or 3 times. After the first one he wasn't willing to take too much."
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