Hey Kids. As many of you know, I was in the paddock and at the gates for the 135th Kentucky Derby as the chief track vet for the KHRC. My day began at 6:00 AM and I personally performed the pre-race exams on 14 of the Derby entries.
It was absolutely the thrill of a lifetime especially since my eldest daughter was able to accompany me. Hooda thunk, back when we were in vet school, that I would end up here at The Derby (albeit 20+ years later).!!
The entire day was surreal, what with 155,000 screaming race fans and a who's who of heavy hitters in the industry from our own Larry Bramlage to the Bob Bafferts, D.W. Lucas's, the finest thoroughbreds in the world, and so many more. It was like Carnival, Mardi Gras, & The Super Bowl all set together in one enormous gala party event. Churchill really does know how to bring on the biggest racing party in the world.
The early AM (and absolutely legitimate) scratch of the favorite, the shocking finish of the long shot win, and flawless race card only added to the exuberance for me.
1. The winning trainer had won only a single race this year, and it was a quarter horse race.
2. He is a biker and barroom scrapper, not exactly your genteel blue blood.
3. Nineteen of the twenty Derby entries were Kentucky bred.
4. Derby entrants are restricted to 20 with preference given to horses with the highest earnings in graded stakes races. Mine That Bird was 18th on the original entry list.
5. The 155,563 attendees does not include the 20,000 plus people on the backside or 2-3 thousand Churchill employees.
6. Derby wagers for 2009: $11.9M on track, $104.5M overall.
7. The winning rider Calvin Borel is as "down to earth" as they come. No prima donna he.
He is one of the many cajun riders in the U.S.
8. Kentucky now has the most restrictive anabolic steroid rule among U.S racing jurisdictions (60 days minimum from last admin. to first race).
That's it for this year. We'll do it all over in 2010 along with the Breeders Cup.
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