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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Regardless If Patch Wins Kentucky Derby, He Is A Winner

Kentucky Derby 2017: One-eyed Patch aiming for glory in $2.4 million race

Story highlights

  • One-eyed Patch racing in Kentucky Derby
  • Race has purse of $2.4 million
(CNN)When three-year-old thoroughbred Patch takes to the starting gate at this year's Kentucky Derby Saturday, many people -- be it in the stands or watching on TV -- probably won't be aware that this is a very special horse.
At the left-hand side of Patch's head is a dark hole -- about the size of a golf ball -- where his eye used to be.
As a two-year-old, Patch developed an ulcer in his left eye that, despite the best possible medical care, didn't respond to treatment.
    Eventually, in June 2016, the colt had his eye removed after trainer Todd Pletcher decided nothing more could be done to save it.


    Trevor Breen rode one-eyed showjumper Adventure De Kannan to victory
     in the 2014 Hickstead Derby and he says the adaption for a horse after losing an eye is more of a mental than a physical one.
    "I think the heart, mind and attitude of the horse are big factors in the
     recovery," Breen told CNN. "The first thing is the obvious one really,
    they've just got to come to terms with it.
    Glamour and tradition at the Kentucky Derby
    Glamour and tradition at the Kentucky Derby 07:11
    "What they used to be able to see,
     they now can't. Horses are very
     good at adapting and I think they
     sometimes deserve a lot more
     credit than we give them.
    "The key to it all is the mind of the
     horse. If they have a really good
    attitude and that they want to do the
    job that you want them to do, then
    they'll find a way to do it."
    Patch, who was coincidentally given his name before losing an eye, is
     ranked as an outside -- but not impossible -- 30-1 shot along with three
     other horses.
    Two other runners, Fast and Accurate and Sonneteer are given odds of

    Rewinding the clock

    Breen is eager to stress that every horse is different and although
     Adventure De Kannan seamlessly transitioned from two eyes to one,
     that might not be the case for other horses.
    Both Adventure De Kannan and Patch suffered from eye ulcers, meaning
     the gradual decline of sight in one eye made the post-operation transition
     more manageable.
    Before Adventure De Kannan lost his eye, Breen says he had been
     trying, unsuccessfully, to win the Hickstead Derby -- considered one
     of the premier events of the equestrian calendar -- for four years.
    Then he and Adventure De Kannan -- less than a year after having the
     eye removed -- claimed the title for the first time.
    "When we took the eye out it was like I rewound the clock about three
    or four years," Breen recalls. "He got cheeky again, he was like a new
    "He was such a good-natured horse, he'd never let you know he was
     depressed. But it must have been affecting him and as soon as we
    took it out, he was in super form straight away.
    "He had a cheekiness and a swagger about him. He was definitely
     better after the eye went out. You think with yourself, if you have a
     pain in one place all the time you'd be nearly going through depression."
    How do you make the 'Drink of the Kentucky Derby'? 01:57

    Upsetting the odds

    Though showjumping and flat racing are different disciplines entirely,
    parallels can be drawn between the recovery procees of both Adventure
    De Kannan and Patch.
    How has life changed for American Pharoah?
    How has life changed for American Pharoah? 09:17
    And after overcoming considerable
     odds to reach America's $2.4
     million race, don't bet against
     Patch doing it again on Saturday.
    "It's a credit to him and his
    professionalism that he was able
     to adapt so seamlessly to it,"
    his trainer Pletcher told Reuters.
    "I was concerned that it might
     compromise his ability in some
    way or the way he carried himself. I guess you don't know for sure but
     it certainly doesn't seem like it has."
    "He's a remarkable horse to lose his left eye in the middle of last summer
     and recover as quickly as he did. It seems to never faze him."