LONGTIME Daily News sports writer Stan Hochman has a stable full of great stories about the Kentucky Derby, including a dandy from the first one he covered. We'll get to that in a minute.
For the second year in a row, Hochman will headline a charity benefit on Derby Day at the Paramour restaurant in the Wayne Hotel in Wayne, Pa. The event kicks off at 3 p.m. and guests are encouraged to dress as if they were attending the Derby at Churchill Downs - plenty of ostentatious hats, hold the manure.
Prizes will be awarded for best outfits and proceeds will go to the Wayne Senior Center. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at the door or by visiting www.ParamourWayne.com.
If you go, get Stan to tell you about his first Derby experience. It was in 1957 and Willie Shoemaker was atop Gallant Man and on his way to certain victory. Except Shoemaker misjudged the finish line and was overtaken by bitter rival Bill Hartack, who was aboard Iron Liege.
Afterward, Stan was among the writers who tried to get Shoemaker's side of the story except they were told "Shoe" quickly left the barn for a flight to Los Angeles.
"Yeah," one of Stan's skeptical colleagues snapped, "and he'll probably get off at Albuquerque."
Plenty more to come Saturday.
If Orb, the early favorite at 7-2, wins the Kentucky Derby, he would tie the record for horse with the shortest name ever to win a Triple Crown race.
Zev, who won the Preakness and then the Derby in 1923, currently holds that distinction. Zev's name wasn't long, but his legacy sure is. By the time he retired the following year, Zev broke Man O' War's record by earning $313,639. Converting that to today's value, Zev won $4.1 million according to DollarTimes.com. I'll Have Another, last year's Derby and Preakness winner, retired after earning $2.7 million.
Zev was named after J.W. Zevely, a friend of owner Harry Sinclair.