LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (Reuters) - I’ll Have Another won the 138th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs before a record crowd of more than 165,000 on Saturday.
Ridden by Mexican jockey Mario Gutierrez, I’ll Have Another (15-1) hit the lead passing the shadows of the iconic Twin Spires and kicked clear to win the $2.2 million, 1-1/4 mile classic.
Bodemeister, who started as the 4-1 favorite, finished second, 1-1/2 lengths back, after trying to lead all the way.
The fast-finishing Dullahan (8-1) came third, a further neck behind while Union Rags, the 9-2 second favorite, was seventh in the 20-horse field.
I’ll Have Another, a three-year-old chestnut colt, emerged as a real contender to win the Run for the Roses after winning last month’s Santa Anita Derby in California.
But he was still considered an outsider and paid $32.60 for a $2 win bet in one of the most open Derbies in years.
“He is an amazing horse,” said Gutierrez, who moved to the United States less than a year ago after riding for six years in Canada.
“I told everybody before the first time I rode him, I knew he was the one.”
In keeping with tradition, the race was preceded by the singing of “My Old Kentucky Home” and the winner was draped in a garland of red roses as a huge crowd packed into the course, dressed in an array of outfits and sipping on mint julep drinks.
Bodemeister, who was favorite after winning last month’s Arkansas Derby, jumped into the lead from post position six.
Jockey Mike Smith kicked five lengths clear rounding the final turn and looked set to win before his mount started to tire down the stretch.
I’ll Have Another drew level then pulled clear over the last furlong as the crowd let out a deafening roar.
The lone international entrant, Irish-trained Daddy Long Legs, finished last after being up on the pace in the early stages.
Reporting by Julian Linden; Editing by Dave Thompson and Ken Ferris