Luck and opportunity. They may not be twins, but they’re at least in the same family. Those two dance and weave their way through all of sport – gracing some, haunting others. As an athlete, all you can do is be prepared, and hope the pair shines their light upon you. Luck and opportunity electrify the masses on the courts or fields, and sometimes they are just standing in a horse stall eating hay.

News trickled out of Arkansas that Arkansas Derby favorite, Cupid, would be taken off of the Kentucky Derby trail after a disappointing 10th place finish. A post race medical check revealed the horse had an entrapped epiglottis and would require surgery, according to the Daily Racing Form. With Cupid’s derby trail defection, New Orleans Saints owners Tom and Gayle Benson’s Mo Tom will get the opportunity to race in the biggest horse race of them all. Mo Tom will join G.M.B. Racing stablemate, Tom’s Ready in the Run for the Roses.

Running for the Roses

The Dallas Stewart-trained Tom’s Ready doesn’t dazzle but gets in the money more often than not. He placed in the Lecomte Stakes and Louisiana Derby to earn his ticket to Louisville. On the other hand, Mo Tom excited the locals with his big kick and closer style, but needed help to get into the Derby due to two poor races from the horse’s jockey, Corey Lanerie. After getting checked in the Risen Star Stakes by a fading horse, Lanerie repeated the gaffe in the Louisiana Derby, leaving Mo Tom without enough points to qualify for Kentucky.

But, with a little bit of luck, that is officially in the past, and opportunity awaits.

Running for the Roses

Tom Benson released a statement upon hearing the news, "We are honored to have a chance to run in the most prestigious horse race in the country and are very grateful to Dallas Stewart and TomAmoss. We are proud of Tom's Ready and Mo Tom and what they have accomplished to this point. Placing two of our horses into the Kentucky Derby is very humbling for me and my wife Gayle. But what has us the most excited is sharing this with everyone in New Orleans and we look forward to bringing a New Orleans feel to Louisville on May 7!"

As we make the move towards that first Saturday in May, our four-legged friends begin to pop up in the news across the country. Names like Brody’s Cause and Louisiana Derby winner Gun Runner are bandied about, and men pull out the seersucker and contemplate if they can pull off a boater hat.

You are going to hear a lot about Nyquist – who will enter as the Kentucky Derby favorite. Nyquist is undefeated in seven starts, with six graded stakes victories, including last year’s Breeder’s Cup Juvenile.

Nyquist’s Triple Crown bid will have to go through Exaggerator – a horse that may have broken through to another level following his scintillating performance in the Santa Anita Derby. A race that saw Exaggerator spot the leaders 15 lengths at the half-mile pole, before seemingly tapping into a gear that the other horses just didn’t have on his way to destroying the field. So, get your hats ready ladies, Derby season is upon us!

 

And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.

 

Bourbon PairingOld Forester Mint Julep

Playlist Recommendation – Stephen Foster – “My Old Kentucky Home” 

 

Around The Way

On the other hand, Tulane baseball (22-13) did exactly what you shouldn’t do when opportunity comes calling. The Green Wave’s Top 25 ranking was short-lived as the men had a rough week, dropping three of four games. First, the Ragin’ Cajuns (24-12) of Lafayette exacted their revenge, thumping Tulane’s pitching to the tune of a 9-2 victory. The Green Wave followed that mid-week loss by losing a series at home against the Cincinnati Bearcats (18-19). Tulane’s bats disappeared, and if not for Jeremy Montalbano’s two homeruns over the weekend, could have been swept. Luckily, they got another outstanding performance by freshman pitcher Ross Massey, who struck out five batters and scattered three hits in Tulane’s 1-0 victory. It is Massey’s second complete game shutout in a row. The series win put the surprising Bearcats in first place in the American Athletic Conference. Not bad for a team that started the season 1-11.

Xavier and Southern University-New Orleans hosts the Gulf Coast Athletic conference track and field championships April 23 at Tad Gormley Stadium in City Park. Xavier women’s track team is attempting to win its fourth consecutive team title. Admission is free and the meet starts at 8:45 a.m. So, head over to Morning Call, grab a beignet with some coffee and go root for the home team. Thanks.