I just saw the video of today’s Kentucky Derby.  Wow.

If you’re a fan of the underdog (or the underhorse, in this case), then this is a story for you.  Heck, if you just appreciate anything spectacular, you need to check this out.  Coming into the race at 51-1 odds, no one predicted that Mine that Bird would even be in contention at the Derby, much less take home the roses.  The horse’s trainer, Chip Woolley, confessed afterwards, “To be honest, I didn’t have any real feeling that I could win the Derby.”  And co-owner Mark Allen said, “I would’ve been happy just to have lit the board with this horse.”

mine-that-bird1As you watch the video, note the horse lagging at the rear for the first half of the race, some twenty lengths behind the leader.  Well, that’s Mine that Bird, mounted by jockey Calvin Borel.  His strategy was to lay back, hug the rail, and push hard at the end.  By hugging the rail, of course, the horse has a shorter distance to run overall.  But the challenge is finding a path through the tangle of horses in the homestretch.  Well, Borel brilliantly guided his diminutive colt through the equine mass and finished first.  Not only that, but he won handily—by almost seven lengths, the largest margin of victory in the Kentucky Derby in over sixty years! 

So many lessons here—even for us humans.

5 Responses to “Mine That Underdog”

  1. J.R.


    Good post.

    There are many lessons here – some more obvious than others – but what do you think are the lessons for us from this dramatic story?

    • Jim Spiegel


      Thanks, J.R. Some of the more standard lessons that come to mind are:
      “patience is a virtue” and “slow and steady wins the race.” But it is also a powerful illustration of how the path to victory is often a messy one, as “Mine that Bird” and his jockey probably got a lot of mud in the face as they trailed for much of the race and then weaved through the pack to win it. Finally, there is the biblical lesson that we should not despise the day of small beginnings. This obscure gelding showed real talent but not Kentucky Derby caliber greatness. Still, the owner and trainer worked as hard as they could to get him ready…and look what happened. Who knows what you and I might accomplish with similar diligence, even if no one believes in us.

  2. layla


    and…derby day is a good reason to make DERBY PIE!
    i am sorry, i really should be making an effort to stay in line with the insights and nuggets of wisdom so often found on your blog, but all i can squeeze out right now is a smart-ass comment about pie with bourbon (which is yummy)

  3. layla


    a day of small beginnngs… how relevant to the education of young children
    i will ponder over this for awhile


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)