Jockey Johnny Velazquez almost missed this year’s derby: his horse, Uncle Mo, one of the favorites coming into the race, scratched and made the field of 20 entrants into 19. Velazquez was ousted from the race, but not for long. Shortly after Uncle Mo’s scratch, Velazquez received a phone call from Animal Kingdom’s owner: would he like to ride his horse instead? Velazquez said “Yes”, and the rest is now history. Animal Kingdom – a 20-1 long shot – steamed down the home stretch to win the 137th Kentucky Derby with flying colors.
To be sure, Animal Kingdom’s win wasn’t exactly a run-away victory. Favored horse Shackleford broke out of the gates in the lead during the crucial first 16th of a mile, where positioning counts the most during the race. Shackleford continued as pace setter for all but the homestretch of the race, overtaken by strong kicks from Animal Kingdom, Nehro, and Mucho Macho Man. He took a respectable 4th place, although it appeared to most people that he could have easily won the race if he hadn’t run out of gas towards the finish.
Instead, it was Animal Kingdom’s day, and Jockey Johnny Velazquez couldn’t be happier. Already nominated for the Jockey Hall of Fame, today’s victory will seal the deal on an amazing career and performance record. Now, we wait for the Preakness.
2011 Kentucky Derby 137 Results and Payouts:
|Horse Number||Horse Name||Win||Place||Show|
|13||Mucho Macho Man||N/A||N/A||$7.0|
2011 Kentucky Derby 137 Payouts:
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