It's a great story.
Stately Victor, Saturday's winner of the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, is partly owned by the state's attorney general, Jack Conway, who also happens to be running for the U.S. Senate.
Plus, his father, Tom Conway, a 72-year-old attorney from Louisville, is the horse's majority owner and was moved to tears in the post-race news conference.
"I'm raised in Kentucky," said Tom, before having to back away from the podium. "If I couldn't win the Derby, I wanted to win this race."
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After all, this particular horse was named after a family friend, Victor Perrone, who died in a car accident at age 23.
For the cherry on top, Stately Victor is the longest shot to win in the 86-year history of the Grade I race, returning $82.20 to those in the Blue Grass Day record crowd of 33,727 lucky enough to own a winning ticket.
"I've got a little in my pocket," said a smiling Jack.
Given the Blue Grass Stakes' recent history, that doesn't make Stately Victor a great horse. The Blue Grass winner hasn't won the Kentucky Derby since 1991. This son of Ghostzapper had not finished better than fifth in any of his previous five races.
"He hadn't done too well on synthetics before today," joked trainer Mike Maker when asked about the horse's unimpressive record on dirt.
In fact, there is only one potentially great horse headed to Churchill Downs for the May 1 race.
That would be Eskendereya, the Todd Pletcher-trained freight train who was a stunning 9¾-length winner of the Wood Memorial on April 3, after being an 8½ -length winner of the Fountain of Youth on Feb. 20.
The Derby being the Derby, of course, there will be plenty of contenders hoping to spot a weakness in the Eskendereya arsenal. There's Santa Anita Derby winner Sidney's Candy, Florida Derby winner Ice Box, Louisiana Derby winner Mission Impazible and Rebel Stakes winner Lookin At Lucky, to name a few.
But little Saturday caused anyone to jump off the Eskendereya bandwagon.
Out at Oaklawn Park, long shot Line of David led from starting gate to finish line to win the Grade I Arkansas Derby, beating morning-line favorite Super Saver (another Pletcher-trained entry) by a neck, with D. Wayne Lukas' Dublin another neck back in third place.
Trained by John Sadler, who also trains Sidney's Candy, Line of David was a 17-1 shot making his stakes-race debut. His two previous races, both wins, were on grass. The Derby, of course, is run on dirt.
But the Arkansas upset was mild compared to Keeneland's stunner in the sun. Morning-line favorite Pleasant Prince ran seventh in the nine-horse field. Entering on a three-race win streak, Odysseus ran dead last, leaving Sasha Sanan, assistant racing manager of his father Satish Sanan's Padua Stables, shaking his head.
"I just don't know," said Sasha. "I don't know."
Why even Stately Victor's trainer, the veteran Maker, said he used some good vodka to persuade Tom Conway to "do something crazy" like enter the horse.
"I wasn't in on the decision," joked son, Jack, "and to the voters of Kentucky, I wasn't in on the vodka, either."
Winning jockey Alan Garcia was Stately Victor's fifth different rider in eight races. When asked about Stately Victor's sixth-place finish in the Dixiana Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland last fall, Maker mentioned traffic problems as "the first excuse in a long list of excuses."
Yet this was pure joy for the Conways — "I have a tear duct problem," Tom joked — who suddenly realized Saturday that they will be making that famed walk over from the barns on Derby Day with a Derby horse.
"I've been walking on pillows," said Jack.
If form holds, Eskendereya will show that there is only one great horse in this Kentucky Derby.
But Stately Victor is a pretty good story.