Louisville – Circa July 2019: Churchill Downs, Home to the Kentucky Derby. The Kentucky Derby is one of the Crown Jewels of horse racing and professional sports III
Fred Faour: Kentucky Derby conspiracy theories, Part 1
Mattress Mack has an awesome promo where if the Kentucky Derby favorite wins you get your furniture free. Check out the flyer below, then let’s look at Derby conspiracies:
Horse racing has its share of scandals. The Kentucky Derby does as well. Because of that, there is no shortage of conspiracy theories. Some have merit, but a lot do not. Let’s take a look:
Jockeys hold horses back
We will debunk this one. In the Derby, there is too much money on the line. Now, in a 5k claimer, you see that all the time. Bettors complain all time that jockeys are cheating. The reality is in a race like the Derby, it’s incompetence, not intentional. Most riders rarely are in 20-horse races, and the mistakes you see are because they are simply unfamiliar with it. Jockeys won’t lose the Derby because they’re cheating; it’s because they aren’t good enough.
Rich Strike shows up the day before the Derby and wins
We will debunk this one as well. The horse was 21st on the list (20 horses run) and was not expected to run. Thanks to a late scratch, he got in the field, and thus shipped to Churchill, where he shocked the world. The bigger concern is, was he on drugs? He had never run a race like that before or since. The Derby had been filled with controversy over the past few years. Why not cover it up? That’s a valid theory. Because…
The Baffert effect
Bob Baffert has won six Derbies. He finished first in seven, but Medina Spirit was disqualified for drug use. His Triple Crown winner, Justify, should have never been in the race. He tested positive after the Santa Anita Derby, and it was covered up. Without that win, he would not have enough points to qualify for the Derby and win the Triple Crown.
And that’s the problem. Lack of transparency. Cover-ups. With Rich Strike, would they really let another controversy taint the Derby after the Medina Spirit DQ? Steroids started in horse racing. Masking agents. Everything we question about human athletes began in horse racing. Steve Asmussen, the winningest trainer of all time, has been popped multiple times. Each time after his suspension, his horses struggled to win races. Baffert has also been popped multiple times. If high-profile players like that can be busted, who can we trust?
That’s where all the conspiracies come from. More coming.