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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Monarchos wins Derby

Horse wins 2nd fastest Kentucky Derby in track history

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Owner John Oxley's first try at winning the Kentucky Derby proved so disappointing, he hadn't been back since that May day in 1995.\nGripped by so-called Derby fever, Oxley felt downright sick when Jambayala Jazz finished 15th and Pyramid Peak was 17th. So he and trainer John Ward developed a new plan to buy colts with outstanding pedigrees in an effort to win the Derby.\nOxley, an avid polo player, and Ward, a native Kentuckian and third-generation trainer, reached the winner's circle Saturday at Churchill Downs with Monarchos, a gray colt named for the Byzantine era Greek ruler Georgios Monarchos.\n"There's nothing like winning the Kentucky Derby," Oxley said. "It takes you to a higher orbit."\nBut first, Monarchos had to survive an objection by the jockey of Invisible Ink, the second-place finisher in which Oxley owns a quarter interest. John Velasquez' claim that Monarchos interfered at the quarter pole was rejected by the stewards.\nOxley, 55, purchased Monarchos for $170,000 last year.\nWard, 64, has worked for Oxley for many years. He shared Oxley's disappointment in 1995 when their Derby hopefuls bottomed out.\n"I can only say this is one of the greatest moments for me," Ward said.\nOxley listened on the radio to his first Derby in 1946. He first attended the race in 1954, when a gray colt named Determine won.\n"Do you think another gray could win?" Oxley asked his wife, Debbie, before Saturday's race.\nMonarchos won by 43/4 lengths and covered 11/4 miles in 1:59 4-5, the second-fastest time ever behind Secretariat's track record of 1:59 2-5 set in 1973.\n"It's the fulfillment of a lifetime dream," Oxley said. "It's the greatest thing on the planet."\nOxley and Ward started this year's Derby trail with multiple contenders, only to see Hero's Tribute and Holiday Thunder fall by the wayside.\nMonarchos, however, looked great in winning the Florida Derby. Even when the colt finished second to Congaree in the Wood Memorial, Ward believed Monarchos would bounce back.\n"I had tremendous confidence in this horse," Ward said. "I've never seen this horse stop his drive."\nWanting a fresh colt, Ward didn't work out Monarchos during Derby week. As a result, the horse and his connections were never swept up in the hoopla.\nMonarchos became the first Derby winner since Bold Forbes in 1976 to take the week off.

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