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.”
As 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.