Louisville, KY-If you thought this year's Kentucky Derby would be another Bob Baffert waltz round the turns, grab you horse beating rods because it's about to get rough.
Rumors and suspicions were flying around Louisville late Thursday night as soon as it was announced that Baffert's only horse, Wimbledon, would be scratched from Saturday's start due to a sore leg. Most were betting that a "maverick" horse would be the choice of the Derby's governing body, but few in this sport of insiders expect this. Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth was announced as the wild-card understudy for the 130th Run For The Roses.
Expect the weather to be a factor in this year's first leg of the Triple Crown. Forecasters are calling for a 60% chance of thundershowers at race time. Nature's hand will give an undeniable edge to those that can handle wet conditions. "Omarosa's a mudder," one trainer was quoted as saying. Inside information on this reality TV star-turned thoroughbred was being tossed around like unsubstantiated racial slur claims as the sun came up on Friday. "She's big and strong. Not many get this opportunity to run at her advanced age, mainly we run two and three year-olds, but this one's special," Jim Frederick, Derby house manager attested.
It wasn't until late last year, after her stint on the Apprentice left her business and personal reputations sullied that Manigault-Stallworth even gave prize racing a go. "After the show I didn't know where to turn. Then one day I was eating an apple, which I can put entirely in my mouth, and I thought 'you know horses can do this too'. One thing lead to another and I found out that was not all that I shared in common with these magnificent creatures."
While the tie that binds the two maybe their massive mouth and the fact that horses have asses and Omarosa can at times be a horse's ass, it is very apparent that the former beauty queen has no love loss when it comes to competition. "I'm going to crush my competition and I'm going to enjoy doing it."
The real battle in the turns will be watching how Omarosa handles the headstrong Imperialism. The horse, already a proven muddy track runner, will try to become the first winner trained by a woman, 21-year-old Kristin Muhall. Battling shoulder to shoulder with the bigger horse should prove a daunting task to the former Clinton staffer. "I'll be watching those two before the race," says AP racing writer Richard Rosenblatt. "If Omarosa pops a squat right before post, I know she'll be good to go."
Some bettors already have thrown out all of the odds after this week's crazy turn of events. As Rosenblatt predicted after Wednesday's post position draw and Friday's finalization of the lineup card: ``This probably will be the best betting Derby ever.''