Horse Racing: Kentucky Derby: Most exciting 2 minutes in sports

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

It’s one of the oldest and most spectacular sporting events in America. One of the things that makes it unique is it only lasts about 2 minutes. As a matter of fact, it’s billed as “The Greatest 2 Minutes in Sports.” I’m talking about the Kentucky Derby. This year will mark the 138th “Run for the Roses.”

It all takes place at Churchill Downs this Saturday, May 5. More than 80,000 fans and partiers will pack the infield at the track. Thousands more will be in the stands, and millions will be watching on television around the world.

Of the 21 horses listed in the pre-race lineup, Union Rags and Gemologist appear to be the early favorites. Union Rags is trained by Michael Matz. He also trained Barbaro, the winner of the 2006 Kentucky Derby. Jockey Julien Leparoux will be attempting to get Union Rags into the winner’s circle. He is a five-time Breeder’s Cup winner.

Gemologist is trained by Todd Pletcher. He won the 2010 Kentucky Derby with Super Saver and led all trainers in money won in 2011. Javier Castellano will pilot Gemologist. The Venezuelan will be looking for the biggest win of his career since riding Bernardini in the 2006 Preakness.

I’ve never professed to know a ton about horse racing, but I do like watching it. I’ve also never been afraid to wager a couple of bucks on one of the horses I like either because of the way they look or perhaps their name strikes a chord with something in my mind. I’m guessing that if most casual fans of horse racing admitted it, this is the way 95 percent of the bets are placed.

This year, I’m thinking I’ll place bets on Hansen and El Padrino. I like Hansen purely based on appearance. This horse is a sleek, almost silver-colored, muscular 2-year-old colt. He looks fast!

My other bet will be on El Padrino. That translates from Spanish to English to mean “the best man.” This horse is getting my attention for no other reason than I just like the name.

For a total investment of $4, I will sit on the edge of my recliner and yell at my television for 2 minutes. That’s pretty cheap entertainment, and I might even win a few bucks. That’s why I like watching the Derby and haven’t missed one for as far back as I can remember.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

From the May 2-8, 2012, issue

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