LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Trainer Dallas Stewart flew under the radar in last year’s Kentucky Derby, surprising many experts when Golden Soul rallied from far back to get second at 34-1.
Stewart will look to beat the odds again Saturday, this time with Commanding Curve at 50-1 on the morning line.
His record is only 1 for 6, and he landed post No. 17 in the 20-horse field.
Stewart sees nothing but upside for a horse who was has run twice this year in stakes at the Fair Grounds.
He was sixth in the Risen Star and most recently rallied to get third in the Louisiana Derby after being impeded at the start.
“He ran pretty good in the Risen Star, got beat eight lengths coming off a maiden win and a layoff,” Stewart said. “Then the Louisiana Derby, and here we are. Hopefully, we’ve got him tight enough and fit enough for a mile-and-a-quarter on Saturday.”
HOP TO IT: Hoppertunity could knock for Bob Baffert in the Derby, giving the Hall of Fame trainer a fourth victory in the Run for the Roses.
The colt with the unusual name has also lifted the spirits of a couple trying to conceive their first child.
Hoppertunity earned his way into the Derby with a win in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park and a second-place finish behind California Chrome in the Santa Anita Derby.
He started out with another unusual name, Anyway U Way.
“I was getting ready to run him and I really didn’t like that name,” Baffert said Wednesday.
So he had a horse with no name.
Baffert’s wife, Jill, is a friend of Kathleen Hopper, a designer cookie maker in Pasadena, California. At that time, Kathleen and Chad Hopper were trying to have a baby.
“We were all excited for them,” Baffert said. “But it didn’t take and they were pretty sad. Kathleen said, ‘Well, we missed another Hoppertunity.’”