Did anyone have it? I can’t be the only one asking that after the stunning result in the $1 Million Louisiana Derby. Sent off at staggering odds of 109-1, Hero of Order pulled off the shocker of the 2012 Kentucky Derby trail with a half-length score over favored Mark Valeski, for owner and trainer Gennadi Dorochenko. The dark bay colt stalked the early pace set by Comisky’s Humor, before taking over the lead coming out of the far turn. It appeared he might be soon swallowed up by the field early in the stretch, but he found another gear to maintain his advantage under veteran rider Eddie Martin, Jr. Mark Valeski made one final surge to the longshot in the final fifty yards, but Hero of Order had enough to hold him off. Final time for the son of Sharp Humor over the nine furlongs on the fast track was 1:50.13.
When a horse pays $220.80 to win a major race, us so called experts search for answers. If you are like me, and looking for reasons why Hero of Order won, rather than why he was more than one hundred to one, try a few of these facts on for size:
-He was so well liked as a yearling, Hero of Order sold for a whopping $3,000 at the Keeneland September Sale. By the way, today’s first place prize was $600,000.
-The Louisiana Derby was Hero of Order’s 14th lifetime start, easily the most in the field, with only a maiden win to his credit before today.
-Three different times as a juvenile, Hero of Order ran in maiden claiming races, finishing 2nd, 3rd, and 5th respectively.
-Of the 13 horses in the field, only Hero of Order and Fire Alarm were not nominated for the Triple Crown.
-His most recent race may have been his race, running second in a minor turf stakes at Fair Grounds. Unfortunately, he was disqualified from the place for drifting out in the lane.
Still wondering how he won? Perhaps the result of the Louisiana Derby can be summed up best by Dorochenko who said, “You see, I brought not expensive horses but I make these horses expensive.”
If you are enthralled by this underdog story and think perhaps Hero of Order can parlay his big win into a good showing at this year’s Kentucky Derby, think again. Under the Derby rules, the only way Hero of Order can get into the race is by paying a $200,000 supplemental fee and hoping that less than 20 previously nominated horses enter.
No Kentucky Derby, but who cares? Hero of Order just won a million dollar race. It just goes to show that on any given day; the little guys can win the big one. Just ask Goliath.