A well-matched full field of twenty three-year-old hopefuls made the gate in the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (G1). After a dark and wet Oaks Day on Friday, the sun came out on Saturday which dried the track back to "fast" and helped push the attendance to 156,635 for the 133rd running. Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Street Sense, trying to be the first winner of that race to win the Derby, was sent off as the 9-2 favorite over undefeated Arkansas Derby winner 5-1 second choice Curlin, who was trying to overcome another jinx, as the only Derby winner in 125 years to not race as a juvenile. Florida Derby winner Scat Daddy was the 7-1 third choice , while Lane's End Stakes winner Hard Spun rounded out the top four on the board at 10-1.
Hard Spun took over the lead first time past the grandstand and he was allowed an uncontested lead through quick fractions of 22.96, 46.26, 1:11.13, and 1:37.04 while as many as 3 lengths clear of the rest of the field. 45-1 longshot Stormello stalked the pace for the first half mile before dropping out of contention, eventually finishing 19th. Down the backstretch, as Hard Spun continued to lead the pack, a tightly bunched pack formed behind him including 52-1 Teuflesberg, 59-1 Sedgefield, and 20-1 Cowtown Cat closest to the pace. Favorite Street Sense allowed the field to bunch up in front of him while jockey Calvin Borel angled him over to the rail for a ground-saving trip the whole distance. On the far turn, Hard Spun was 3 lengths clear of the pack and Street Sense was moving up along the rail. A narrow opening on the inside allowed Street Sense to squeeze through, and at the 3/16 pole, he went through the gap between Hard Spun and Sedgefield and powered past to get the lead. He drew off in the final furlong to win by 2 1/4 lengths over Hard Spun in a time of 2:02.17 over the fast track. It was a long 5 3/4 lengths back to late-running Curlin in third, who was 1/2 a length ahead of Imawildandcrazyguy in fourth. Scat Daddy stalked the pace for 6 furlongs then faded badly in the stretch, finishing 18th.
There were five other stakes races on the card with the Derby.
Pgm, Horse, Jockey, Win, Place, Show
7, Street Sense, Borel, 11.80, 6.40, 4.60
8, Hard Spun, Pino, 9.80, 7.00
2, Curlin, Albarado, 5.60
Winning Time: 2:02.17
$2 Exacta 7-8 : 101.80
$2 Trifecta 7-8-2 : 440.00
$2 Superfecta 7-8-2-5: 29,046.40
$2 Oaks/Derby Double: 23.80
Calvin Borel looks back for the competition as Street Sense starts to draw away from Hard Spun in the stretch. Borel, celebrating his first Kentucky Derby victory, said, "He's the best 3-year-old I've ever been on in my life. He's the kind of horse, he'll do anything for you. He's very push-button. He'll put you in a spot where you want to be at any time and then relax, so I really don't know how good he is. I stayed on the fence until about the 1/4 pole and I went around one horse and then after that, you know, it was just a matter of how far he went, because I knew when I asked him he'd go."
Street Sense heads to the winner's circle. Winning trainer Carl Nafzger, who also trained 1990 winner Unbridled, said, "The thing that I was confident about was simple. This horse has never ran a bad race. He's done everything he's supposed to. I've got all the faith in the world in this horse and I can't say enough about him. When everybody said two races, to me, there wasn't anything to it. There was two races, because the horse had already had five, had already learned his lessons and it was a matter of getting fit and getting his timing. Calvin has a clock in his head that is unreal, especially after you looked at the first quarter in 22 4/5."
Street Sense in the winner's circle. Winning breeder and owner James Tafel said, "Well, the epitome of anybody in the horse business or racing career is to have a horse that's won a Kentucky Derby. (Breeding the horse) makes it particularly sweet. Some of my friends were not too enthusiastic about the breeding because he was an unproven stallion (Street Cry). He went to an unproven broodmare (Bedazzle). So that is a bunch of nonsense which has produced Street Sense. This is the most difficult race in the world to win. Because you've got 20 horses in there, and a lot of things can happen, bad things can happen to good horses. Fortunately Calvin kept us out of trouble today and got us across that finish line first.
Street Sense looks exhausted as he heads back to the barn after the Kentucky Derby. Trainer Carl Nafzger said, "Let's just be honest, the horse, he's taken us everywhere. Mr. Tafel and I, since the last summer in the Maiden race in Chicago, I said, Calvin, make him beat us. And after that we talked and we said, Now the horse takes us where it's going, and man, has he taken us on a trip!"
The trophy presentation for the Kentucky Derby. Owner James Tafel said, "You know, it's a distinct and unique pleasure to be the breeder of this horse, but it's also very satisfying to break the jinx of no horse winning the Derby after the Juvenile Championship. And the other thing is that there's only been 2 horses that went off as the favorites since Spectacular Bid to win the Derby. What do y'all think about that jinx now?"
Second place finisher Hard Spun runs out after the finish of the Derby. His jockey Mario Pino said, "I'm ecstatic with the way he ran. He broke well and relaxed nicely for me. He was just cruising along there. At the top of the lane, he was running easy. I said, 'Let's go,' and he got to running. But the winner came up and passed me. No disgrace. My horse ran great."
Third place finisher and second favorite Curlin returns after the race. His jockey Robby Albarado said, "He'd never had that experience to be behind like that. But turning for home he came running."
The dirt flies as the field for the 2007 Kentucky Derby rounds the clubhouse turn. That is eventual fourth place finish Imawildandcrazyguy last at this point. His jockey Mark Guidry said, "At the quarter pole, they were not running so fast, and he just kind of made a steady run and landed in fourth."
PHOTO: Street Sense winning the Kentucky Derby (G1) on Saturday.
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/2007-kentucky-derby-results-winner-5-07.html">2007 Kentucky Derby Results</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com