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Sports Then and Now



Poetry in Motion as Animal Kingdom Claims Kentucky Derby 22

Posted on May 11, 2011 by Rod Crowley

Graham Motion, the English born trainer of 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom could hardly contain his surprise after his outsider hosed up in the ‘Race for the Roses’ in front of a record crowd of over 160,000 at Churchill Downs last weekend. Amazingly it was the horse’s first run on dirt having previously run all his races on turf.

Having only his fourth start, the huge Chestnut colt was only rated at around 20/1 to win America’s most prestigious race, but he looked every bit the winner when he began his surge down the final stretch of the ten furlong race. “It’s not something I ever expected to do,” said Motion a few hours after he had won the race, but he confirmed that the horse had come out of the race in great shape and that he would take his chance in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in three weeks time, for which he’ll sure to be favourite in the Preakness Stakes Odds given the manner of his Derby victory. Success in that race of course will put him in line to win the highly coveted American Triple Crown of horse racing, should he take part in the Belmont Stakes two weeks later.

The win was also a huge bonus for jockey, John Velazquz, who got the ride after the one time race favorite Uncle Mo was withdrawn from the race. It was Velaquez’s first win in the ‘Derby’ in thirteen previous attempts and he now looks like staying on the horse for the Preakness. Read the rest of this entry →

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      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

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