Mike Pegram knows what it's like to win the Kentucky Derby. Today, the former Sacramentan hopes to repeat the thrill of a lifetime.
He won the 1998 Kentucky Derby and Preakness with Real Quiet, then missed the Triple Crown by two inches in the Belmont Stakes.
All he needs is Lucky to get lucky.
"We've got the horse," Pegram said of Lookin At Lucky, the favorite to win the 136th Derby. "Now, we just need a good trip."
That's the major obstacle facing Lookin At Lucky, last year's juvenile champion and the most accomplished colt in today's 20-horse field.
But Lucky could be looking at trouble from the outset; he breaks from the rail, the worst place to start the world's most famous horse race. He could be hopelessly pinched back before the first turn. The last Derby winner to wear No. 1? Ferdinand in 1986.
"We named him wrong," quipped trainer Bob Baffert, a three-time Derby winner and Pegram's best friend.
Compounding problems, a sloppy track is expected with rain forecast for Louisville. To cope with the mud, jockey Garrett Gomez plans to wear six sets of goggles for the 11/4-mile race aboard Lucky.
"Anytime the track gets like that, every long shot has a chance," Baffert said Friday.
But Pegram is unfazed.
"If there's a horse that can overcome that spot, it's Lucky," he said. "I don't want to sound overconfident, but we got the best jockey in the country, and he knows what his responsibilities are.
"You cannot say that you are unlucky when you are the favorite in the Kentucky Derby. Those two just don't go together."
Pegram, 58, has always had confidence in this colt, which could be named for him. Like the saying goes, "You can be lucky or good, and you're looking at lucky."
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