The Kentucky Derby is one of the biggest horse races of the year, as it kicks off the Triple Crown. Like every year, spectators will be cheering on the horse most likely to win it all — and, weeks later, crying their eyes out after the Belmont Stakes when the Triple Crown win doesn't happen. (Hey, it's hard to win the most coveted title in horse racing, OK?) But at this year's Kentucky Derby, there's another win to look out for: This may be the first time a Super Bowl champion wins the Kentucky Derby. If you were planning on betting on Nyquist, think again.
Tom Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints, is also the owner of two horses racing in this year's Kentucky Derby. Benson and his wife, Gayle, own Mo Tom and Tom's Ready, two thoroughbreds that have a medium shot at winning the top prize at Saturday's race, ESPN reported. If either Mo Tom or Tom's Ready come out on top of the 20-horse field, then the Bensons will be the first people in sports history to win both a Super Bowl championship and the Kentucky Derby. Tom Benson has been the owner of the New Orleans Saints since 1985. During his tenure, the Saints won the Super Bowl championship for the 2009 season — the team's first Super Bowl appearance and win in franchise history.
Now, the Bensons are eyeing the prestigious Kentucky Derby to add to their list of sports accomplishments. "It’s like the night before the Super Bowl. And the anticipation's there, and the excitement that we’re feeling is there,” Greg Bensel, the Saints’ VP of communications, told ESPN.
According to ESPN, the Kentucky Derby has basically turned into Saints Nation, with head coach Sean Payton and other members of the coaching staff hanging out at Churchill Downs on Saturday ahead of the big race. Payton has reportedly been in Louisville since Wednesday to support the couple and their thoroughbreds, NOLA.com reported.
"I'm excited to be there and be a part of it for them. I don't know a whole lot," Payton told NOLA.com. "You hand me the Racing Guide, and other than the number of horses, that's about all I can read."
Mo Tom and Tom's Ready aren't favorites in the Kentucky Derby. The morning-line for Mo Tom on Saturday was 20-1, while Tom's Ready had a morning-line of 30-1. Those odds place the two horses of Saints Nation as medium shots in Saturday's race. Still, Saints fans are praying for either a 4-12 or 12-4 finish for the city of New Orleans.