Big Brown wins tragic 134th Kentucky Derby
Filly Eight Belles finishes second but is euthanized after breaking ankles
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Big Brown backed up his trainer’s boasts with an explosive finishing kick and won the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
But the cheers of the crowd were cut short when the filly Eight Belles, who finished second, was euthanized on the track minutes after the race with a fatal injury.
Big Brown went off as a 5-2 favorite for the $2 million Derby, having won all three of his races by a combined 29 lengths. He didn’t race as a 2-year-old, challenging the notion that young colts need plenty of seasoning before trying the Derby. Trainer Rick Dutrow spoke glowingly of the horse prior to the Derby, saying, "He’s a dream come true, seems like he was born for this track."
Colonel John was the 9-2 second choice, but had never before run a dirt track. Pyro was third among betting favorites at 6-1.
Eight Belles was bidding to become the fourth filly ever to capture the Derby, and the first since Winning Colors in 1988. She had never run against the boys before. The filly was hurt in the race and collapsed on the track at the finish.
After a soaking ran on Friday and early Saturday, the sun broke through this morning, giving way to a mix of white clouds and blue skies at Churchill Downs. Strong wind also factored into the track conditions.
The field of 20 contained several longshots including Z Humor, who went off under the longest odds at 67-1.
Last year's Kentucky Derby was won by Street Sense. The colt, ridden by Calvin Borel, became only the third favorite to win the Derby since 1979.
© 2008 NBC Sports.com