Kentucky Derby on the riseBy SETH KOCHERA
It is springtime in the Bluegrass, and the smell of roses is in the air. Twenty of the best three-year olds in the country are gearing up for a shot at racing immortality in the “most exciting two minutes in sports.” The 136th annual of Kentucky’s signature race is set to take place on Saturday. It is an annual celebration with an unparalleled tradition, the highest of fashion, the utmost elegance and the combination of sheer power, grace and beauty. As the horses walk out onto the track with the playing of “My Old Kentucky Home,” there is not a dry eye in the house, and the roar of the crowd as the horses leave the starting gate is enough to give anyone goose bumps. The Kentucky Derby is truly one of America’s greatest sporting spectacles.
The road to the Kentucky Derby this year has been puzzling and frustrating for Derby experts. There are not any horses that have separated themselves from their counterparts. The only standout, Eskendereya, was pulled from consideration for the Run for the Roses with an injury. This marks the second straight year that the Derby favorite has been scratched before the race. Other than Eskendereya, no other horse seems to have really separated itself from the rest of the pack. Here is a brief synopsis of three of the top horses that are likely to run in the field this year and one longshot selection.
Two-year-old champion Lookin at Lucky now has assumed the role of the probable favorite for the big race on Saturday. This season, he won the Grade II Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park, and most recently, he finished third in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby after a disastrous trip. The biggest drawback to this horse is that no horse has won the Derby after making his final start on a synthetic surface in California.
Jenny Craig’s colt, Sidney’s Candy, has been the top California horse this year. He is unbeaten this season in three starts with victories in the Grade II San Vicente, the Grade II San Felipe and the Grade I Santa Anita Derby. He has the same problem as Lookin at Lucky—he is a California runner. California runners cannot be taken seriously until one of them can win the big prize.
Mission Impazible solidified himself as a legitimate contender after his victory in the Grade II Louisiana Derby. He has been improving in every race this year, and his stretch run in the Louisiana Derby gives an indication that this colt can go the Derby distance of 1 1/4 miles. He has been working out very well at Churchill Downs this week. The major concern for him is that only two Louisiana Derby winners have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby: Grindstone in 1996 and Black Gold in 1924. Mission Impazible is finding himself to be one of the most overlooked horses in the Derby, but do not be surprised to see the grey son of Unbridled’s Song win racing’s most coveted prize.
If you are looking for a live longshot in this year’s Kentucky Derby, Jackson Bend is your horse. He is trained by Nick Zito, who is well-known as an upset specialist. His most recent memorable upset came in 2008 when Da’Tara upset Big Brown in his bid for the Triple Crown at odds of 38-1. Jackson Bend has finished second in all three of his starts this season to horses that would be favorites for the Derby if they stayed healthy. Jackson Bend finished second to Eskendereya in the Grade II Fountain of Youth and the Grade I Wood Memorial. His other place finish came to Winslow Homer in the Grade III Holy Bull back in January.
This is a short sampling of only four of the 20 horses that will participate in the Run for the Roses. It is up to you to do your homework on the rest of the field. Now all that is left to do is to wait for the festivities to begin this weekend, and enjoy the 136th Kentucky Derby.
Derby winner has GC connectionBy SETH KOCHERA
Twenty-five years ago, Spend a Buck put on a tour-de-force in winning the 1985 Kentucky Derby by a little less than six lengths. This colt has a special significance for Georgetown College, because he was bred by Georgetown college alumni Rowe Harper. Harper, class of 1966, bred the Derby winner at his Irish Hill Farm in western Kentucky just outside of Owensboro. The colt was born on May 15, 1992, which is later in the foaling season. Harper decided to get out of the business and sold most of his horses the next year, including Spend a Buck. The yearling son of Buckaroo was sold for $12,500 to Dennis Diaz. This would prove to be one of the greatest bargains of all-time for a Kentucky Derby winner.
Coming into the Derby, Spend a Buck was one of the leading contenders with his record of seven wins from 11 starts for trainer Cam Gambolati. He won the Run for the Roses under jockey Angel Cordero Jr. leading the entire 1 1/4 miles of the race. His time of time of 2:00 1/5 was the third fastest Kentucky Derby ever, behind only Secretariat and Northern Dancer. He was later named the 1985 Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old Colt. In 15 career starts, Spend a Buck won 10 races, with three second place finishes and two third place finishes. The champion’s career earnings totaled at $4,220,689, a phenomenal return on an investment of only $12,500.
The 1985 Kentucky Derby Winner passed away at the age of 20 in late 2002. Harper said that watching a horse that he bred win the Kentucky Derby was one of the greatest thrills in his life. He accomplished what every thoroughbred breeder sets out to do—to breed a Kentucky Derby winner. Harper is a shining example that anyone can breed a great horse; it just takes a little bit of luck. Hope springs eternal that your horse could be “the next big one” that can catch lightning in a bottle and win the Run for the Roses. According to statistics compiled by The Jockey Club, There were 37,939 foals born in 2006, and only 19 (0.05%) of them were in the starting gate on May 2, 2009 for the Kentucky Derby last year. The odds are really stacked against you no matter who you are, but on the first Saturday in May in 1985, Georgetown College alumni Rowe Harper beat the odds and have bred a Kentucky Derby winner.
Baseball finishes third in MSCBy ANDY RUSSELL
The season has been a grueling one for the Georgetown College baseball team, but their hard work and persistence has paid off. The team ended the season on a rough note, losing five of their last six games, but they still have a chance to prove themselves in the Mid-South Conference tournament. The team played great in the conference, finishing with an overall record of 19-9 in conference play and is looking to carry that record into the tournament. Their first round opponent is a familiar foe in Lindsey Wilson, a team that they took three of four games from this season. Let’s look back at some of the highs and lows for the baseball team this year as regular season play has ended and the post-season tournaments ensue.
The team was at rock bottom from the first swing of the bat, losing 12 of their first 16 games. However, all of these losses were to high-quality opponents and ended up helping GC learn from their mistakes. In doing so, they bounced back by winning two at West Virginia Tech and taking down King College, a team that had won two of three games earlier in the season. They then started conference play on the right foot, winning ten of their first 15 games. As of April 17, they were sitting pretty in the conference at 18-4 and had their record back to .500 for the second time all season (Apr. 3, 17-17).
On April 16, Interim Head Coach and long-time assistant Brian Karlet was named the official Head Coach for his alma mater and this pushed the team to a four-game sweep of Pikeville College. The magic quickly wore off, however, and the team lost four in a row to West Virginia Tech (2) and Campbellsville (2). Conference play is now beginning and the Tigers are looking to make a big splash in trying to win the MSC.
There are many players that have contributed to the efforts this year and, at season’s end, four of these guys won’t put on the orange and black again: Kevin Rueff, Mitchell Earles, Pete Thackston and Jesse Yano are all seniors and have all made a significant impact on this team. These four guys will be sorely missed, but they still have time left this season to make a move. Hopefully they will be able to take advantage of every second they have left on the field.
Hometown: Louisville, Ky.
Interesting facts: His father played baseball at Western Kentucky, favorite sports team is the Cincinnati Reds and his favorite course is History.
Hometown: Elizabethtown, Ky.
Interesting facts: 2009 Mid-South Conference All-Conference Honorable Mention, favorite sports team is the Cincinnati Reds and favorite food is steak.
Hometown: Murray, Ky.
Interesting facts: All-State team selection in high school, born in Charleston, W.V., previously attended Marshall University before Georgetown.
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Interesting facts: Attended the University of Kentucky before Georgetown.
Top 5 of 2010
From Tiger Woods to the gridiron, here goes nothing.By ANDY RUSSELL
When we are winding down the semester there is one thing that comes to mind: top plays. Here is my version of the top five plays of the 2009-2010 school year. Some are fun, some might bring pain, but these are the best memories of the past year.
1. New Orleans Saints win Super Bowl XLIV
When thinking of the most inspiring stories of this past year, my memory goes no farther than the Saints. A city that was devestated back in 2005 rose together and did the unthinkable. Led by a discarded quarterback and up against a tough Colts team, they played team ball and gave hope to a broken city.
2. Butler’s run to the NCAA Championship
Theres nothing like a hometown team in front of a hometown crowd playing the game that dominates the state. Butler made a magical run on the legs of Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack back to Indy to play in front of their family, friends and fans. This was truly a moment in time for these Bulldogs.
3. UConn cornerback stabbed to death
University of Connecticut cornerback Jasper Howard was stabbed to death on campus following a student- sponsored dance. Howard was a two-time starter on defense and was having a great season. UConn honored Howard by wearing his number on their helmets the rest of the season. UConn went on to win the Papajohns.com bowl against South Carolina and honored Howard after the game. Players wore their emotions on their sleeve during the game and let the tears flow afterwards.
4 Tiger’s return at Augusta
Even though the sports world has been engrosed with Tiger Woods and is sick of hearing about it, it still deserves mentioning. Woods is by far one of the greatest athletes of our time and returned to the game that he has dominated for so long. It’s like Roger Federer taking a break from tennis, Rob Zombie taking a break from meth or Georgetown College taking a break from spending money! It just doesn’t make sense.
5 UConn women win second straight title
The UConn womens basketball team has done something that only the men’s UCLA team has done: they have won 78 straight games and back-to-back national titles. This is a team built for the long haul with head coach Geno Auriema running things.
As I look back on this year, I can see so many more things that have happened in the sports world that were right outside the top 5 mark: Georgetown College volleyball team finishes 2nd in the National Championship, Georgetown College men’s basketball wins MSC Conference, GC football finishes up another winning season and so on. If there is one thing that I can leave you with this year this is it: take pride in your school. So many times on Saturdays Toyota Stadium is only half full because the students of Georgetown College are at UK football games. The same happens for basketball games. When you came to school here you took on an obligation to support the school in all endeavors, and this includes on-field ones. When you look at the orange and black it should give you a sense of pride and that pride needs to carry over to athletics. Have a good summer, Tigers.