We didn’t just invent speed — we’re running out of time to stop it. On a recent ride in Northern Kentucky, a team of eight riders set out in a group of six for the first lap of their final stage. But not before racing one other horse and pulling on a turtleneck to block the sun.
“Oh, God, this shirt,” said the one saddled next to his.
But if the shirts are the thing, the riders still haven’t met the riders’ expectations.
At least that’s what they’re hoping will change tomorrow.
A ride in which the horses have been wearing their own shirts is expected to draw a crowd — which is what riders hope will draw more sponsors back into the project. The project is in the midst of changing its name to Project Pony.
The organization is the brainchild of two former Louisville runners: Dan Groskopf and Kevin Sorensen. The goal is to bring attention to Kentucky’s horse racing community and to promote horse racing as a sport and sportmanship that is vital to the future of the sport in America.
“It’s not a day of fun for anybody,” Groskopf said. “It’s a day of training, it’s a day of practice, to work up to a day where you’re ready for the next one.”
If they can make it through tomorrow, the two are confident, but there’s still work to be done.
“I can ride a horse faster than most people,” said Groskopf. “That just wasn’t the story back in the day. Now we’re trying to spread the word.”
They say they’ve tried to make their project an educational tool and to help make people more aware of how horse racing is an integral part of the Kentucky experience. And now, they’re hoping that the riders will see the story they’re telling, and what it means for their future. At some point, the trainers want to show them how the Kentucky horse racing community is thriving, with a wide variety of participants.
If you could only ride one horse around the Kentucky Derby, what horse would you choose?
“My best horse, which is called Goliath,” said Scott P. Williams, riding on Dwayne, the oldest horse to ever win at the Derby. The Derby’s newest horse, Tilly, was the eighth and last horse that Williams rode last May.
“When I was a
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