Jockey Julien Leparoux returns to the Kentucky Derby for the eighth time this year, where he will ride Danzig Moon out of gate 5, with 30:1 odds.
The 31-year-old Frenchman said being part of the 141st Run for the Roses is “a dream come true.”
Twenty 3-year-old thoroughbred horses are set to race around the storied one-and-one-quarter-mile track at Churchill Downs during Saturday's Kentucky Derby, for what’s often referred to as the greatest two minutes in sports.
Watching from the stands and from the considerably more raucous centerfield, will be an estimated 150,000 exuberant fans.
Millions more will watch a simulcast from their local racetracks, from casinos, from pubs, or from their own livingrooms.
We spent a week getting ready for the race, spending time with people who have spent years preparing for the big event -- people like Julien Leparoux.
Underdog Danzig Moon drew #5 for the starting gate at Saturday's derby. While trainer Mark Casse says it is a tough position, last year's Kentucky Derby winner was also in gate 5.
Danzig Moon's assistant trainer Norman Casse is a third generation horseman, who learned the trade from his father Mark Casse.
For the younger Casse, following in his father's footsteps wasn't always a given. But today, he can't imagine doing anything else.
This is the second year the father-son team will be at the start line of the Kentucky Derby, this time with longshot Danzig Moon.
Running as an underdog
Danzig Moon is an underdog with current odds of 40-1.
But what people don't see, and what could carry Danzig Moon to a win, is a pedigree conducive to long distances, such as the 1 1/4-mile race at Churchill Downs. Also, he's running on home turf.
Norman Casse is a third-generation horseman. This year, his family's business, Casse Racing, will be sending longshot Danzig Moon to the starting gate of the Kentucky Derby.
"This will be our third Derby starter," Casse said, though only the second since he has directly participated as an assistant trainer to his father, Mark Casse, lead trainer.
After Danzig Moon finished second in the Blue Grass Stakes, the underdog is poised for a strong performance Saturday. Check back for daily updates on Danzig Moon and Casse Racing.