Last week’s crowds at Keeneland’s closing day.
Can you imagine getting all the way to a four-star event, only to find out your horse has been assigned a start box at a very oblique angle to the first fence, while others get to tackle it straight on? Sounds like a weird dream, but waiting for yesterday’s Derby Draw must’ve been pretty surreal for those involved. For an amazing horse—a Derby winner—does it matter? And after all, isn’t luck an essential part of the game?
After drawing post 6, Bob Baffert’s Bodemeister became the morning line 4-1 favorite. Second favorite Union Rags, 9-2, drew post 4 (“I just don’t see why he can’t be right behind Bodemeister and be right with him. He’s going to have to let him come out and run a little bit. It’s not the worst thing in the world,” trainer Michael Matz said of the draw), and undefeated Gemologist, post 15, was the third favorite at 6-1. [Blood-Horse]
Looking for some good Derby storytelling? Look no further than Kentucky Confidential. Yesterday alone, KYC covered the “utterly American” Churchill breakfast joint Wagner’s Pharmacy, not-so-favorites (and why you shouldn’t overlook them), and Derby Fever. Can’t wait to read what’s in store today. [Kentucky Confidential]
My favorite jockey, Sheldon Russell, 24, whose mount Done Talking drew post 17, told the Horse Racing Radio Network yesterday that riding makes you feel “like you’re doing something good with your life.” His accent’s pretty easy on the ears, too. [Listen]
Party bar stocked yet? “What we’re looking for in a mint julep, as in any cocktail, is the perfect balance of several flavors. In an ideal mint julep, the alcoholic punch and rich caramel notes of bourbon should be set against the delicate bitterness and spicy herbal aromas of fresh mint.” [Dappled Grey]
Anyone planning to don wellies and ford the Badminton course this weekend should beware that the course has been closed to the public. Too wet even to walk. [Badminton]
Badminton Director Hugh Thomas has blogged that canceling the event is “the most depressing thing I have had to do in all the time I have been at Badminton.” [Hugh’s Blog]
An Eventing Round Table discussion took place yesterday at the FEI Sports Forum in Lausanne (SUI), where reducing speeds in CICs, rider licenses and qualifications, scoring, frangible pins and ponies were the debated topics. [FEI] [Horsetalk]
Best of the Blogs: Kristen Collins attended New Vocations and the Retired Racehorse Training Project’s Thoroughbreds for All event alongside over 300 others last Saturday in Lexington. Bruce Davidson, Cathy Wieschoff, Dorothy Crowell and Molokai were part of what sounds like a very cool show. [Retired Racehorse Blog]
“Have you ever seen the Wild Mustang Roundups where they challenge cowboys to break a mustang? Well, we’re eventers… (No mustangs involved, I promise!) Announcing the Young Event Horse Challenge!!’ [Team CEO Eventing]
“…cross country day was a bit of carnage – while (gratefully!) no one was seriously hurt, there were a lot of disappointed riders walking home on foot after falls, stops and other disasters on the appropriately challenging course. And in an Olympic year, this is how it should be, a challenging course that separates the men from the boys. It got me thinking about how underprepared I think our dressage people are sometimes, how expensive and challenging it is to get a similar experience in dressage.” [Lauren Sprieser for COTH]
Derby Update, 5/2: