Gayego, who won the Arkansas Derby, is available with pretty good odds, or at least they were good yesterday. Notice that his shoe has a toe clip. It's another Kerckhaert shoe, imported from Holland.
Gayego shipped east from California and is shod by Steve Norman. The colt is trained by Brazilian Paolo Lobo and his owners are Cuban-Americans. Talk about living the American dream!
Gayego had a quarter crack in one hind foot when his owners bought him for only $32,000 at the 2006 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. According to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat, the owners said that the horse went through the sale with a patch on the hoof and "there was electrical tape over it,” said Juelle, an accountant from Rolling Hills, California. “People started looking to the other side. They didn’t want to see the damaged horse. But the crack on the [hoof ] wasn’t a concern to us. It wasn’t a concern to our vet.” Juelle said Gayego was given about two months for the quarter crack to heal before being broken. This horse is definitely one of my top picks. If you watch his videos on kentuckyderby.com you'll see why; he has the early speed needed to get out of the mess in the middle of the 20-horse pack. If his other performances are any indication, this horse could break free and the others will have to catch him. His work this week was on a wet track. If he does get to the front, I think he will find Big Brown there with him. The two of them are breaking from the 19 and 20 stalls so it's a logistics puzzle how they are going to get there. With three year olds, anything can happen out of the gate.
I will be doing my annual marathon holding-of-my-breath for roughly two minutes.
Z Fortune ran second to Gayego in Arkansas and is also in the Derby; I just learned that he is wearing Polyflex glue-on shoes, as is Steve Asmussen's other entry, Louisiana Derby winner Pyro.
Learn more about Gayego at http://www.gogayego.com/
Gayego looks out of his stall at Churchill Downs; his jockey will be Mike Smith. (USA Today photo by H. Darr Beiser)