Frater's Horse Super Saver Takes Kentucky Derby
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Saturday, May 1, 2010, the day of the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby, Presented by Yum! Brands, dawned with rain, rain and more rain over Louisville and the rest of the state of Kentucky.
For most of the day, the rain fell hard and turned the track at Churchill Downs to mud. But, the races went on – safely. Yet, even with the rain, as the time for the Derby itself drew closer, the excitement in the crowd began to grow.
For WinStar Farm and co-owners Frater Kenny Troutt (Beta-Chi, Southern Illinois Univ.) and Bill Casner, they would be sending out two horses, American Lion and Super Saver, two horses that were born and raised at their farm in Versailles, Ky., just a short drive west of Lexington.
While WinStar did have one previous Kentucky Derby winner, Funny Cide, in 2003, would the farm be able to win their first Derby as owners?
For jockey Calvin Borel, he would be going for his third Derby crown in four years. He had won it twice before, in 2007 on Street Sense and last year on Mine That Bird. The key for him would be trying to find the right path on the track to take in the race.
In the races preceding the Derby on Saturday, Borel had ridden five other races. He had ridden on the rail, where he is most comfortable, and had ridden on the outside and down the middle. He won two of them on the inside, and finished fourth, eighth and last in the other three while riding inside and outside. So, had he been able to find a path on the track that would take him and his mount, Super Saver, to the winner's circle come post time of the Derby?
For trainer Todd Pletcher, he would be trying to end – the streak! Twenty four times he had saddled horses in the Derby and 24 times he went home empty handed. With all of those horses, he never had a favorite.
This year that all changed, as he came into Churchill with the hands-down favorite in Eskendereya, who had crushed his competition in the Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct just a few weeks ago. Then, disaster struck a week before the Derby when he had to pull the three-year old potential superstar out of the race because of swelling in his left-front leg.
Still, Pletcher would have four horses entered in the race, including the filly Devil May Care, who was entered the day before post positions would be drawn, as well as Super Saver, Mission Impazible and Discreetly Mine. But, the question remained, would he be able to finally win horse racing's biggest prize this year and end his unlucky streak?
The answer, just as assuredly as the rain stopped and the sun broke through to shine down on Churchill as the Derby was set to begin, was a resounding – yes! – to all of those questions.
Super Saver, who left the gate at 8-to-1 odds and under Borel's masterful guidance, ran another rail-skimming race - the type of ride that has earned Borel the nickname - Bo-Rail - to win the derby by 2 1/2 lengths over hard-charging Ice Box and Paddy O'Prado.
With the win, Borel joins an elite group of winning Derby jockeys, Pletcher had the proverbial "monkey off his back" and WinStar's owners had a homegrown Kentucky Derby winning colt.
"I had him where I wanted," Borel said at his press conference after the race. "I got him off the pace and he relaxed real good. I learned a lot the last time I rode him (in the Arkansas Derby). The first time I rode him, I won on the lead, but in the last race, I took him back and learned a lot about him."
Breaking from the No. 4 post, Borel guided Super Saver straight down the track, where he settled in along the rail and within striking distance of the leaders.
He stayed in that position for most of the race, then moved up on his own after six furlongs, rallied between a couple rivals around the final turn, then moved back to the rail as he entered the stretch run. Soon, he caught and passed Noble's Promise, who was fading from first and would go on to finish fifth, which gave him a clear lead.
At that point, the race was his, as he slowly expanded his lead with steady urging by Borel, and crossed the finish line 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Ice Box, who had a horrible ride for most of the race himself.
As for the race favorite, Lookin At Lucky, he also had a rough ride and ended up finishing sixth, while WinStar's other horse, American Lion, finished in 11th place.
While WinStar's Super Saver now has three career wins, there is only one win that matters most for his owners, and that is the Kentucky Derby – a race that every Thoroughbred owner the world over dreams of winning.
"It's an unbelievable journey," Winstar co-owner Casner told the Thoroughbread Times of his long relationship with fellow co-owner Troutt. "This is almost a surreal moment. I think of the first Kentucky Derby I ever saw in 1957, it was Needles and that vision is still in my mind. … I’m still in shock. You dream about winning the Kentucky Derby, but to win the Derby in this business is just unbelievable."
Congrats to Frater Troutt on his horse winning the Kentucky Derby.
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