The 144th Running of the Kentucky Derby is just under a month away, which will feature a local horse (Runaway Ghost) for the first time since 2009. Mind That Bird pulled off perhaps the biggest upset in sports history in ’09 with a win at Churchill Downs at 50-to-1 odds.
Nine years later, Runaway Ghost ran away from the competition at last month’s Sunland Derby, earning 50 qualifying points to the Kentucky Derby. The thoroughbred is trained at Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino by Todd Fincher, ridden by veteran jockey Tracy Hebert, who will mount Runaway Ghost on May 5th at Churchill Downs.
“It’s so much of a big prestige race,” said Hebert. “These owners want guys who have been there, done that. For them to have that faith and confidence in me, it means a lot to me.”
Hebert has over 4,000 career victories, but this will be his first time riding in the Kentucky Derby.
“I’ve rode everything in Kentucky but the Derby. It’s a blessing, man,” said Hebert. “Coming here to New Mexico and getting another one, a second one out of New Mexico with Mind That Bird being the other; to come here and capture another derby horse, it’s awesome. It’s a good feeling.”
Hebert and Runaway Ghost will depart for Kentucky on April 17th, where they will continue to train for the first Saturday in May.