"It's a dream!"
When Danza exploded away from the $1 million Arkansas Derby field three weeks ago to win by 4 3/4- lengths as the longest shot in the field at 41/1 (Danza Dominates in Arkansas Derby Shocker) no one in the ASD Race Book was happier than Grant Sissons, a grain farmer from Portage la Prairie.
That's because he's a partner in the Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, which owns the horse, and the victory means the colt will be starting in the Kentucky Derby tomorrow, Saturday, May 3.
"To go to the Kentucky Derby is a dream," Sissons said, beaming from ear to ear. "Now I know why (trainer Todd) Pletcher wanted to enter him." He added that the owners had initially been reluctant to enter the horse in the Arkansas Derby.
Sissons has owned horses at the Downs through the years and became involved in minor ownership of high quality stakes horses about seven years ago (where partners can own as little as 2 1/2 percent of a horse) but the thrill of going to the Kentucky Derby beats all, he said.
Three other Manitobans involved in the agriculture industry also are partners: Ray Bouchard, Pat Beavis and Don Rempel. Bouchard, a partner in Enns Brothers agriculture equipment, has already experienced a huge Derby rush, when another horse he was involved with, Animal Kingdom, won the Kentucky Derby in 2011. Sissons can only hope to reach such heights, but the Derby is at least taking his mind off his 4,000 acres of grain fields for now.
You can watch Danza win the $ 1million Arkansas Derby in the video below. He's the #1 horse on the inside stalking a pace battle to the stretch before taking the lead and drawing away impressively late. At huge odds! Come out to the Downs on Saturday and cheer on Danza in the 140th Kentucky Derby! More on the Kentucky Derby and how to bet it in this week's Insider.