By BETH HARRIS
AP Sports Writer
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Street Sense roared from next-to-last in
a 20-horse field to win the Kentucky Derby, putting trainer Carl
Nafzger back in the winner's circle 17 years after his first visit.
The colt broke two Derby jinxes to score the win under jockey
Calvin Borel, who was 0-for-4 in the race.
In beating Hard Spun by 2½ lengths, 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 Churchill Downs track where he won the Juvenile six
months ago. He was also the first 2-year-old champion to win the
Derby since Spectacular Bid in 1979.
While it was Nafzger's second win in three tries, trainer Todd
Pletcher, who had a record-tying five horses, was skunked again. He
is now 0-for-19 in the Derby.
Queen Elizabeth II was one of the 156,635 racing fans on hand,
the third-largest crowd in the Derby's 133 years. Asked what it was
like to win in front of royalty, Borel joked, "It meant everything
in the world."
The 65-year-old Nafzger, who is nearly retired, wasn't as
emotional as he was in 1990, when Unbridled won for 92-year-old
Frances Genter. Because of her faltering eyesight, Nafzger called
the race in her ear so she could follow her colt to the finish
Then he gave her a big kiss when Unbridled crossed the finish
This time, Nafzger merely wrapped his arm around 83-year-old
owner James Tafel, and shook his hand before pumping his left fist.
"I can't believe it, I can't believe it. This is the toughest
race in the world to win," the trainer said.
Street Sense was sent off as the 9-2 favorite on his hometown
Curlin finished third, losing for the first time in his
Imawildandcrazyguy was another half-length back in fourth and
Sedgefield was fifth. Circular Quay, coming off an eight-week
layoff, was sixth for Pletcher's best finish.
Tiago was seventh, followed by Any Given Saturday, Sam P. and
Nobiz Like Shobiz. Dominican was 11th, then came Zanjero, Great
Hunter, Liquidity and Bwana Bull. Storm in May, who is blind in his
right eye, was 16th, trailed by Teuflesberg, Scat Daddy, Stormello
and Cowtown Cat in last.
Borel is the master of saving ground and he demonstrated that
skill in the Derby as Street Sense dropped back at the start and
headed for the rail. While Hard Spun shot to the lead, Street Sense
tucked in 19th along the fence.
Down the backside, the rail was open as Street Sense rapidly
picked off horses.
At the top of the stretch, Borel finally moved Street Sense off
the rail. Once free, the colt quickly collared Hard Spun and drew
clear as Borel sneaked a peek over his right shoulder approaching
the finish line.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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