LOUISVILLE, Ky (WTVQ) – While all eyes are on ‘Essential Quality’ as the betting favorite for this year’s Kentucky Derby, there is one horse who’s getting plenty of buzz to contend for the first leg of the triple crown, ‘Hot Rod Charlie’.
It’s a horse who finished second to Essential Quality in November at the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Race. He has only improved since. That improvement highlighted by a win at the Louisiana Derby.
Trainer Doug O’Neil has already won two Kentucky Derby races, but says this one may be the most rewarding because one of the owners for Hot Rod Charlie is his nephew. While O’Neill has had a horse with the Kentucky Derby twice, he says it’s always a different experience.
“This is even more special this time too. It’s always new and fresh and again as great as ‘I Have Another’ and ‘Nyquist’ were and are, Charlie he’s just his own individual.”
As it stands now, ‘Hot Rod Charlie’ is at 8-1 odds to win the 147th Kentucky Derby. That’s fourth best in the field. Having a horse who is different from his other horses who have won the race will make Saturday a completely different ride.
“That makes it fresh and exciting just coming with a new shooter that you just don’t know how he could be.”
If Hot Rod Charlie can pull off a Kentucky Derby win, he’ll be just the third Louisiana Derby winner to do so. The other two were Black Gold in 1924 and Grindstone in 1996.