Patch Much More Than a Novelty, Derby Has Already Had One-Eyed Horse

Patch is more than just a one-eyed horse. Photo credit: Coady Photography, Churchill Downs

OK, guys.  Enough is enough.

We know that Patch has one eye.  We know that he had an inflammation in the eye, and the veterinarians decided it was best to remove the entire eye ball.  We know that the owners named him, when they knew he had an issue with the eye.

And, now that we know that Patch will break the far outside post in gate # 20 we know that really the only thing he will see is the crowd when the gate springs open and the 143rd Kentucky Derby storms down the homestretch for the first time.

But you shouldnt worry about Patch and his one good eye.  He will do just fine, because he knows how to run.  Straight. And, true.  Hes already proven that. Just watch the video of his impressive second-place finish in the Louisiana Derby.

Hes doing good; really good,” said Pletcher, when I caught him outside his barn and got an audio interview.

Im not worried about him at all.  The horse can run.  He may just surprise some people.”

Having a one-eyed horse in the Kentucky is not new.  In fact, it has happened twice before. Two times.

In 1982, famed trainer Ron McAnally, who just so happened to be the guy that trained the late, great John Henry, saddled the horse Cassaleria for the Run for the Roses. Cassaleria had both some ability, in addition to his resolve and determination.  He won the El Camino Real Derby on his path to Louisville.

Patch is not a novelty.  The horse can run.  

This was a steppingstone and that’s all we needed. He’ll come back good. We wanted to run a good race. I don’t think the fans and everybody else could have had a better finish from the two horses they thought were going to run like they expected.

“Bolt hadn’t run in a while. I had one three-quarter work in him; this wasn’t the race we were looking forward to. We’re looking forward to the Santa Anita Derby (April 7) and then that next race that I won’t mention yet (Kentucky Derby May 5).”

Asked is this was the best he ever felt in defeat: “Oh, yes. Coming into this race, (he dragged them)

from the receiving barn to the paddock. In the Breeders’ Cup (Juvenile Nov. 4), his head came down a little bit, he didn’t have as much life. The horse is good right now. Hopefully, we’re moving forward and he’ll be at his best in a couple months. This horse has the heart of a lion. Nine weeks ago he was undergoing a nuclear scan and here we are today. Just being within a nose of Baffert, I’m happy.

“I wasn’t even thinking about the inquiry the whole time. I was just so proud of Bolt, and if he got moved up, he did. This wasn’t the race we were really pointing for. We want to go to the Santa Anita Derby, but getting moved up is awesome; we’ve got enough (Kentucky Derby qualifying) points (50).”

Mick Ruis, Bolt D'Oro Owner/Trainer, Winner San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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