Kentucky Derby 2013: Storylines to Cheer for at Churchill Downs

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IMay 1, 2013

LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 29: Jennifer Patterson rides Orb (L) during the morning excercise session in preparation for the 139th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on April 29, 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

People base their bets at the Kentucky Derby on every variable imaginable.

The name of the horse. The pedigree of the horse. The horse's post position. The career achievements of the trainer, owner or jockey. Whether or not the horse's mother was a mudder.

You're going to hear it all. 

But I've got another route you can take. Go with the horse whose victory will make for the best story—whose victory will hit you right in the feels

Simply put, bet on the horse you want to win. The following two are a good place to start, for much different reasons.


Orb: Can We Please Get Shug A Win?

Claude R. "Shug" McGaughey III is the Karl Malone of horse trainers—Hall-of-Fame career but "oh-fer" in the big one. 

The 62-year-old trainer has led a horse to a win in just about every major race possible (via Yahoo! Sports' Pat Forde):

(Shug's) 10 Breeders Cup victories are second-most among all trainers. He's won every major stake in his primary racing state of New York, including the Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup three times apiece.

As such, he was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2004, an achievement that only 46 trainers have garnered in the last 58 years. But unlike many of the others enshrined next to him, his Triple Crown accomplishments are mostly forgettable.

Shug managed to win the 1989 Belmont Stakes with Easy Goer, but he has come up short at both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.

Nevertheless, this is his time to fulfill a lifelong dream that has evaded him for far too long. Orb will enter the 139th Run For The Roses with four straight wins—including an impressive win at the Grade-1 Florida Derby—and, at the very least, top-three odds.

If anyone deserves to win this race, it's Shug. 


Goldencents: Make History

Doug O'Neill established himself as a household name last year when his little-known horse won both the Derby and the Preakness.

I'll Have Another, ridden by also-then-obscure Mario Gutierrez, was one of the best stories in all of sports last year—not just horse racing.

This time around, O'Neill's horse has a chance to give us another inspiring, movie-script-worthy story.

Goldencents gets an abundance of attention because Louisville basketball head coach Rick Pitino has a five-percent share in the colt, but more important is the jockey who will be riding it. 

Kevin Krigger.

The 29-year-old will be the first black jockey in the Derby since 2000, looking to be the first to win since Jimmy Winkfield rode Alan-a-Dale to victory all the way back in 1902.