Sunday, May 6, 2007

STOP MAKING SENSE

A mile into the Kentucky Derby, all the other horses were motoring along in fourth gear when Street Sense kicked it into fifth. Then he zeroed in on his last challenger, Hard Spun, went wide, and burned up the final quarter-mile like a dragster.

"After that," jockey Calvin Borel said, "it was just a matter of how far he'd win."

Street Sense showed plenty of that Saturday by smartly picking his way through traffic, roaring from next-to-last in a 20-horse field to win by 2 lengths. The dark bay colt was so commanding that he broke two Derby jinxes and put a couple of guys in the winner's circle late in their careers.

Trainer Carl Nafzger and owner Jim Tafel were taking a second shot at the Derby together. In 1999, Vicar finished 18th for the duo.

Street Sense became the first Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner to return in the spring and win on the first Saturday in May, snapping an 0-for-23 skid. He did so on the same track where he won the Juvenile by 10 lengths six months ago. He was also the first 2-year-old champion to win the Derby since Spectacular Bid in 1979, and the first colt to win with two or fewer prep races since Sunny's Halo in 1983.

Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, were among the 156,635 racing fans on hand, the third-largest crowd in the Derby's 133 years.

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