The Time Is Right For America's Baddest Horse Trainer

Ok, this has been bugging me since Saturday, so I have to ask—was trainer Bennie Woolley Jr. carrying a gun at the Kentucky Derby? (Probably not—but wouldn't it have been great if he had been?)

There was a suspicious-looking metal object hanging from what I imagined to be a low-slung underarm holster beneath Woolley's jacket during his post-race victory interview. I'm sure that's not what it was, but I'm not sure that wasn't what it was, if you know what I'm saying. Woolley does seem like the kind of guy who would be packing heat at a Kentucky horse race—but he also seems like the kind of guy who would wear his cellphone on his belt, so I'll stop with the unsupported innuendo now.

However, if he had been carrying a gun at Churchill Downs that would just make him horse racing's all-time renegade bad ass, which would officially vault Mine The Bird into mythical "let's make a sequel to Seabiscuit" territory. Woolley already stood out like a sore thumb in Louisville with his black cowboy hat and blue jeans. His 21-hour horse trailer convoy from New Mexico still has the media salivating and will keep his status as the sport's outlaw secure until Pimlico. He even teased us all for a few hours this morning with his "We don't need no stinkin' Preakness" attitude. This guy MAKES HIS OWN RULES, people!

Of course, he does need the Preakness and no one in their right mind would skip it with a healthy horse. And getting snotty with the post-race interviewer just because he wants to talk about your pickup truck doesn't help. (Your horse was a miracle 50-1 shot, so maybe show a little bit of joy. The announcer calling the race was so confused when Mine That Bird took the lead that he couldn't figure out his name.) Still, there is some potential in a brash Wild West character who thumbs his nose at that those stinking bluebloods, but the window of opportunity is small. If he doesn't show the world something in two weeks, everyone will stop caring real quick. He should bring a gun next time, or better yet ... an authentic Native American with a bow and arrow. That will really show those snobs that he's got some serious balls.

Unlike his poor horse.

Woolley Soaking Up First Derby Experience [BloodHorse]
On to Preakness for Derby winner Mine That Bird [AP]
Mine That Bird won't have much shot at Pimlico [NY Daily News]
Meet America's perfect sports event [Detroit Free Press]