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May 4th, 2009 by Temple City Tribune
Jockeys Joe Talamo of Monrovia, Garrett Gomez of Arcadia and Mike Smith of Sierra Madre were at Churchill Downs for last Saturday’s Kentucky Derby as was Arcadia trainer Bob Baffert. Horse racing is the stuff of dreams and the dreamers got stardust—and mud—thrown in their faces.
On a sloppy track in Kentucky a 51-1 longshot, Mine That Bird zoomed across the finish line leaving a stunned crowd, trainers and riders to wonder what happened.
Talamo surely was disappointed when the odds-on-favorite I Want Revenge was scratched, an oddity since it was the first time in Derby history that a favorite was scratched the day of the race since the publication of the morning line began in 1949. The scratch was due to heat in the left front ankle of I Want Revenge. But, life goes on and Talamo returned home to run seven races the following day, Sunday, at Hollywood Park.
Smith was quoted as saying he was sure he had a winner as his mount, Chocolate Candy, came around the far turn. It was not to be as the race’s winner had it all to himself and only Pioneerof the Nile and Musket Man had a second tier thrilling moment coming in second and third. Smith’s Chocolate Candy was fifth following Papa Clem that came in fourth.
Mine That Bird with jockey Calvin Borel was out of the gate at 51-1, only the second time in Kentucky Derby history that odds were that high, although Smith rode Giacomo in the 2005 Kentucky Derby to win at 50-1, certainly a notable feat. Giacomo paid $102.60 to win compared to $103.20 for Mine That Bird. Smith must have run to the airport following the Derby since he raced at Hollywood Park Sunday afternoon in three races.
Gomez fought and won second place on Pioneerof the Nile against Musket Man. Baffert, the trainer of Pioneerof the Nile, has three Derby wins to his name.
Several wrap up items on the money angle would seem in line. As to purchase price of each horse, the $9,500 paid for Mine That Bird has captured imagination against, for instance, Pioneerof the Nile at $290,000, but is not that unusual when you consider that owners of third-place Musket Man paid $15,000. The owners of Mine That Bird were awarded $1,417,200 of the prize money. Pioneerof the Nile yielded $400,000, Musket Man, $200,000 and fifth-placed Chocolate Candy, $60,000.
By Bill Peters