(Louisville, Kentucky) For the first time in the 129-year history of America's most famous horse race, the Kentucky Derby has been won by a horse who is neither a thoroughbred, nor, for that matter, three years old.
Eaton Road Kill, a 6-year-old standardbred son of noted harness racing sire Cambest, ground up first-over under driver Dan Dube and knocked off a final quarter in 24:3 to beat this year's best thoroughbred three-year-olds in what is beyond the shadow of a doubt the most stunning upset in the race's history.
"People thought it was ridiculous last year when that pathetic New York-bred Funny Cide won the race" said noted handicapping expert Connor Pando, "but this is simply beyond belief."
Trainer Mark Harder, the first New Zealander to win the race, was magnanimous in victory, saying that all he wanted was "some fush 'n chups and a few weeks on the beach at Bondi."
Eaton Road Kill, a 6-year-old by Cambest out of the Bret Hanover mare Mannart New Start, had been dominant in early season pacing events at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, winning one "Open" event in 1:49.2, with an amazing final half in 53:3.
Given the fact that many of the top thoroughbred yearlings are bought by Europeans and oil sheiks, to be raced on the grass in Europe or at the eight-year-old track in Dubai, the American thoroughbred 3-year-old ranks have long been heavily depleted. Still, it is a bit astonishing that a harness horse could compete with thoroughbreds under the best of circumstances. A good thoroughbred can run a mile in roughly 1:33; few harness horses can cover the distance in anything faster than 1:50.
Driver Dan Dube said " de 'orse was real game, ya know, I pull 'im at de 'alf and kick out da plugs at da headstretch, and he was on his right line a little dere, but he was tres fort in de deep stretch".
Eaton Road Kill will take a two week break. He is expected to pass up the Preakness to run in the Dan Quayle Pace at Hoosier Downs in Anderson, Indiana, where he will compete with E Dees Cam and Handyman Hank for a purse of $50,000.00.