The first Saturday in May... one of my most favorite days of the year. Most of you know me for my love of baseball and football, but the Triple Crown races make me ridiculously happy. I don't watch horse racing any other day of the year so when May rolls around, I park my butt on the couch to watch some good 'ol thoroughbreds run.
The 139th Kentucky Derby thrilled the crowd. I couldn't decide who to root for. Would it be Gary Stevens, who at 50 came out of retirement to ride longshot, Oxbow? Would it be Rosie Napravnik on Mylute to become the first female jockey to win the Derby? Would it be Kevin Krigger on Goldencents to be the first African American to win in over 100 years? Or would it be trainer Shug McGaughey looking for his first win in a horse named Orb?
When the mud stopped flying and the horses crossed the finish line after the sloppy 1 1/4 mile, it was Orb who stormed through the field under the careful driving of jockey Joel Rosario to win. A first for Rosario, a first for Orb and a first for McGaughey, who hasn't even saddled a horse in the Derby since 2002 when he trained 10th-place finisher, Saarland. I wondered if Orb was the shortest name of any Derby winner. It's tied for the shortest with Zev, who won in 1923.
Golden Soul was second at odds of 34-1, Revolutionary, piloted by 3-time Derby winner Calvin Borel, was third and Normandy Invasion, who had the lead for a brief moment before Orb shot past him, ended up fourth.
Now on to Maryland for the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness, on May 18th. Go Orb!!