Jersey Connections in the Kentucky Derby
Greetings kids!! (Cue up the bugler’s “call to the post”) The most exciting 2 minutes in sports is this Saturday. I’m talking about the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby of course. It’s that time of the year again where we get to see a new crop of the best 3-year old thoroughbred horses in the world.
Each year there is a horse among the field, that has some linkage to New Jersey, specifically the Jersey Shore. Last year, it was Irish War Cry, a Jersey bred-horse owned by Red Bank native Isabelle de Tomaso. Unfortunately, Irish War Cry finished 10th out of the 20 horse field. This year’s field features another Jersey-connected horse and this time it has to do with both an owner and trainer.
Firenze Fire (post position # 1) is trained by Jason Servis, who is not only an Eatontown resident, but he is also based at Monmouth Park. Just like horses have a pedigree, horse-racing runs deep in the Servis family. His father Joe was a longtime jockey and steward at Charles Town Racetrack in Charlestown, WV. Jason’s younger brother John is also a trainer. John’s most notably-trained horse was 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, Smarty Jones. And Jason’s brother-in-law is also a Monmouth Park-based trainer, Eddie Plesa, Jr. The owner of Firenze Fire is Mountain Lakes native, Ron Lombardi, owner of Mister Amore Stables.
Another horse entered with Jersey connections is Solomini (post position #17). Solomini is owned by Zayat Stables, LLC. Ahmed and his son Justin are from Teaneck. You may have heard of the Zayat’s from winning not only the 2015 Kentucky Derby, but the Triple Crown and the Breeder’s Cup Classic that same year with American Pharoah. Much like with that future hall of fame horse, Solomini is also trained by Bob Baffert. The Zayat-Baffert formula seemed to work out very well three years ago.
Here is the complete field for the 144th Kentucky Derby:
|Post Position||Horse||Jockey||Trainer||Owner||Current Odds|
|1||Firenze Fire||Paco Lopez||Jason Servis||Mr. Amore Stables||50-1|
|2||Free Drop Billy||Robby Albarado||Dale Romans||Albaugh Family Stable||30-1|
|3||Promises Fulfilled||Corey Lanerie||Dale Romans||Robert J. Baron||30-1|
|4||Flameaway||Jose Lezcano||Mark Casse||John C. Oxley||30-1|
|5||Audible||Javier Casetellano||Todd Pletcher||WinStar Farm LLC||8-1|
|6||Good Magic||Jose Ortiz||Chad Brown||e Five Racing Thoroughbreds||12-1|
|7||Justify||Mike Smith||Bob Baffert||WinStar Farm LLC||3-1|
|8||Lone Sailor||James Graham||Tom Amoss||G M B Racing||50-1|
|9||Hofburg||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||William Mott||Juddmonte Farms, Inc.||20-1|
|10||My Boy Jack||Kent Desormeaux||Keith Desormeaux||Monomoy Stables LLC||20-1|
|11||Bolt d’Oro||Victor Espinoza||Mick Ruis||Ruis Racing LLC||8-1|
|12||Enticed||Junior Alvarado||Kiaran McLaughlin||Godolphin Racing LLC||30-1|
|13||Bravazo||Luis Contreras||D. Wayne Lukas||Calumet Farm||50-1|
|14||Mendelssohn||Ryan Moore||Aidan O’Brien||Michael B. Tabor||5-1|
|15||Instilled Regard||Drayden Van Dyke||Jerry Hollendorfer||OXO Equine||50-1|
|16||Magnum Moon||Luis Saez||Todd Pletcher||Robert & Lawana Low||6-1|
|17||Solomini||Flavien Prat||Bob Baffert||Zayat Stables, LLC||30-1|
|18||Vino Rosso||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||St. Elias Stable LLC||12-1|
|19||Noble Indy||Florent Geroux||Todd Pletcher||WinStar Farm LLC||30-1|
|20||Combatant||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||Steve Ausmussen||Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC||50-1|
|Also Eligible *||Blended Citizen||Kyle Frey||Doug O’Neill||Sayjay Racing, LLC||50-1|
* Blended Citizen can draw into the field should a horse be scratched before Friday at 9 a.m. (Eastern time).
Coverage begins on NBC Sports Network Saturday at Noon and then on NBC at 2:30pm. Post time is 6:34pm. He may be currently 50-1, but I still have to go with the Jersey Shore connections represented in the Run for the Roses. Go Firenze Fire!!