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Horse History | Street Sense Wins Horse Racing’s Biggest Event

Posted By: JR

For any horse racing fan, the annual Kentucky Derby is one of the highlights of the racing calendar. Millions of dollars are bet on the Kentucky Derby outcome, and the tourism rate in Kentucky hits a yearly high. After this year’s race, when Street Sense romped home from the back of the pack, it’s perhaps not surprising that this horse race has become so popular.

History In The Making

When Street Sense fell to 19th in a field of horses that was only one more than his position, nobody could really have expected him to win the race, despite being the favorite. But both Street Sense and his jockey, Calvin Borel(nicknamed Calvin “the Rail” by his fellow jockeys), knew that the horse had plenty in reserve and like Ali and his famous “rope-a-dope” trick against Foreman just over thirty years ago, rider and horse bade their time for the right moment. And what a moment it was.

After his success in the Juvenile section of the Breeder’s Cup, Street Sense followed this to become the first horse in history to come into the senior section and win the prestigious Kentucky Derby. Not only that, but at just two years old, he also became the first three year old horse racing champion at that age since the 1979 win of Spectacular Bid.

Winning The Hard Way

Although jockey Corel may have been confident, to the many thousands at track side and the millions watching at home, it must have seemed anything but a foregone conclusion for Street Sense. Out of the gate, the colt dropped down the line, falling in behind eighteen other horses and seemingly trapped on the inside along the rail. But if the Kentucky Derby teaches us anything about horse racing, it’s that nothing is a foregone conclusion.

As the rest of the field raced each other, trying to put themselves in position for a final flourish, Corel kept Street Sense reined in until the final stretch, just a quarter of a mile from the finish line. Once that distance came into sight, that was the spur for Calvin “the Rail” to masterfully use the rail to guide Street Sense into the history books.

Weaving in and out of the crowded inside lane, he soon made his way easily through the pack, who had the air of defeat already on their faces as they saw the local colt storm through. Relentless in his pursuit, Corel eventually guided Street Sense across the finishing line while standing in the stirrups for the victory by just over two lengths.

Coming Full Circle

For veteran horse racing trainer Carl Nafzger, the win was up there with the best of them, coming a full 17 years after his very first victory in his debut Kentucky Derby. And with the Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip watching from the stands, he can be forgiven for feeling like royalty himself for the day, with his protg Street Sense being crowned the King of horse racing’s biggest and most difficult race.

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By: Harold Read


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