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

Patch
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.  

That’s very, very special to do it at Tampa Bay,” an emotional O’Connell said after Well Defined’s two-and-three-quarter length victory from a charging Kentucky Wildcat in 1:42.70 for the mile-and-a-sixteenth, .26 seconds off 2018 winner Flameaway’s stakes record. So Alive finished a distant third, with the 19-10 favorite, Knicks Go, getting nipped for fourth at the wire by Counter Offer.

“He’s had little things that have happened and he’s grown up mentally and physically, and today he showed up with his game face on,” O’Connell said of the Florida-bred Well Defined, a son of With Distinction by Fru Fru, out of Medaglia d’Oro. “I like this horse a lot and the decision (on what’s next) will be up to the owners (Gilbert and Marilyn Campbell’s Stonehedge, LLC), but we just want him healthy. Maybe the (Grade II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on March 9) – who knows.”

“His rear end slipped out from underneath him in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile,” she said, “and he was compromised on early position when he ran in the Mucho Macho Man and got bottled up inside. He’s a young horse who is improving, mind-wise and everything-wise.”

KATHLEEN O’CONNELL, TRAINER OF WINNER WELL DEFINED
  • 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 ...

    Full Bio >

More From Gene McLean