Sports Betting

a steal of a deal

Finding the bargain that was Teuflesberg was like scoring a St. John outfit in a resale shop.

It fits and it's yours for a couple hundred dollars -- saving you a small fortune.

Teuflesberg also wore a niche label -- by Johannesburg. When trainer Jamie Sanders and her ownership group picked him up for a mere $9,000, they made a designer-horse score on the cheap.

Nearly $350,000 later in winnings, Teuflesberg is one of seven 3-year-olds prepping for the Kentucky Derby on Saturday in Keeneland's $750,000, Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes.

For a son of Johannesburg to be overlooked at auction was amazing in itself. For the $9,000 colt to get to the Blue Grass Stakes is even more remarkable.

Most remarkable of all was that Teuflesberg came from the first group of 11 yearlings Sanders and partner Donnie Kelly picked out when they went into business in September, 2005.

Back at her high school in Edmonson County, Sanders is sure they'd think it incredible that she's living out a dream seen as unattainable while she was still in school.

But that's how it was, according to this gal from Brownsville, in western Kentucky. She had watched the Kentucky Derby on television in 1973. She saw Secretariat win. She decided on the spot that she wanted to be with horses as her life's work.

She told people at her high school. According to Sanders, they suggested she get back in reality. For her to want to become a race horse trainer was like wanting to become a movie star. All fantasy. Get back in the real world, girl.

"I remember being so upset," Sanders said. "My mother (Carolyn Sanders) said to me, 'Don't listen to them. Whatever you believe you can do, you can do.'"

So she'd sneak a Derby trivia book into chemistry class. Brew up an experiment. With her attention on memorizing names of Derby winners.

After graduating, class of 1983, Sanders attended Western Kentucky University for one semester. She says she passed only one course: horse-training.

"They gave you a 2-year-old to break," Sanders said. "Mine was half-thoroughbred and had Secretariat in his bloodlines."

A longtime friend of her father's, race horse owner Gary S. Logsdon, sent Sanders to Jack Van Berg's farm near Louisville to learn how to break and exercise race horses. This led to a job with D. Wayne Lukas in California. Which led next to a brief career as a jockey in Kentucky.

Sanders' biggest career move was to Nick Zito's stable where she worked for 11 years. She exercised his good race horses, including Kentucky Derby winner Strike the Gold, and became an assistant trainer.

And then Zito urged her to go out on her own.

"I pushed her," Zito said. "I knew this girl had paid her dues and deserved it."

For Sanders to be on the Derby trail with a horse from the first group she and Kelly bought, Zito said he was not surprised. Not if she'd put her mind to it.

"I'm happy. I'm very excited for her," Zito said.

And as Zito said, she (and Kelly, too) have paid their dues.

"We started out with nothing and had no money," Sanders said. "We relied on money Gary (Logsdon) supplied until we started getting more owners."

They worked without pay in turn for their 25 percent ownership of horses with Logsdon. Their 25 percent of the nearly $350,000 Teuflesberg has won did not come easy for them.

They persevered, however. Sanders said she took encouragement from what Zito had told her, that she had a gift for horse-training that most people don't have.

That's how Sanders, Kelly, Logsdon and the $9,000 colt with the designer label, Teuflesberg, went from resale to big-time.

Thinking ahead to the Blue Grass Stakes, Sanders said, "We just want the horse to have the opportunity to show he belongs here."

Toyota Blue Grass Stakes

When: 5:46 p.m. Saturday


Purse: $750,000

Distance 11/8 miles

Blue Grass Stakes field

Pp Horse Jockey Odds

1 Zanjero Gomez 8-1

2 Dominican Bejarano 10-1

3 Love Dubai Mena 30-1

4 Street Sense Borel 4-5

5 Time Squared Leparoux 30-1

6 Teuflesberg Prado 10-1

7 Great Hunter Nakatani 9-5