Sunday, May 3, 2009

Long Shot Wins Derby - Too Good to Be True?

50 to 1 long shot, Mine That Bird pulled off a giant upset yesterday at Churchill Downs in the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby.

Costing $9,500 and coming from dead last to win the race by 6 and 3/4 lengths is an incredible story....possibly an unbelievable one. When pre race favorite, I Want Revenge, trained by now suspended Jeff Mullins, pulled out of the race earlier in the day, Friesan Fire then became the favorite. However, that horse would finish second to last. How could the so-called experts be so wrong?

Earlier in the week, The New York Times inquired with the 20 owners what medications, if any, their horses were using. Only three owners responded. One reason given for not sharing their veterinary records was to protect the horse's privacy. 15% of the owners responded - this after a year in which the curtain was removed from the general public's eyes with the secrets of horse racing: steroids, legal, yet morally questionable, injections and a Congressional hearing. After all that, one would expect more transparency. Apparently, the owners in this year's Derby did not get that memo.

Of course the owners of Mine That Bird did not disclose any information to the NYT. Is this story too good to be true or the fairy tale ending the sport needed to get over the death of Eight Belles?

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