World's fastest man has equine rival - Usain Colt
The 3-year-old thoroughbred named after the world's fastest man is being lined up for several races in Britain this summer, and his owners hope Usain Bolt will meet his equine namesake while he is in London for the Olympics.
Trying to schedule an appointment with the three-time Olympic champion is proving difficult, however, with the opening ceremony for London Games only two days away.
Bolt has been training in seclusion on a track at the University of Birmingham, a facility surrounded by thick bushes and patrolled by security.
''Usain Bolt is not the easiest person to get a hold of these days, but I'd like to hope that Usain Colt's chance to meet him after the Olympics would be boosted if the horse wins a race this summer,'' said Jake Warren, one of the horse's handlers.
Warren said Usain Colt deserves his name even though he has only won once - a year ago in Newbury.
''He's quite a big horse. He's very athletically built and has lots of character,'' Warren said. ''He's a laid-back horse with a big personality and has a presence like no other.
''Not other than Bolt, of course.''
The horse is owned by Ascot Racecourse. Prince Harry is believed to have joined the Birdcage Racing Club run by Ascot, whose 100 members pay an annual fee and share any prize money earned by Usain Colt. Their aim is to promote the sport amid dwindling interest during the hard economic times.
Bolt is aware of Usain Colt's existence.
When Prince Harry visited Jamaica earlier this year, he met Bolt and showed him a picture of the thoroughbred. Bolt was quoted as saying that ''to have a race horse named after you by someone who owns it like Prince Harry for me is an honor.''
''He's going to do great, takes time, work his way up,'' Bolt said of the horse.
Like Bolt, Usain Colt has also had problems with his starts in the past year. He was forced out of the Royal Ascot meet, horse racing's biggest event in Britain, and pulled from a recent race in Ireland because rain made the track too soft for him to run.
Usain Colt returned to the track on Wednesday for a seven-furlong race at Sandown. He finished second in a field of 10.
''He had an amazing sprint at the end, but was held too far back by the jockey in the beginning and ended a length and half behind the winner,'' Warren said. ''We hoped he'd win, but we hope that the good performance on the track will bring some good luck to Bolt's Olympic 100 race.''
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Kentucky derby attractions
Although the Kentucky derby is primarily about horse racing, this is not the sole reason that people attend. There are a host of events that could keep you entertained for several days after the Kentucky derby is finished. Here are a few of the most popular events that take place during the Kentucky derby.
Undoubtedly the most spectacular event that takes place during the Kentucky derby is Thunder Over Louisville. Every single year, almost five hundred thousand people congregate on the banks of the Louisville’s river to stare in awe at the spectacle that is Thunder over Louisville. This event is the largest ever fireworks display in the world. It constitutes half an hour of amazing fireworks in the night sky over the Louisville river. The reflections of the fireworks on the water’s surface make it all the more awe inspiring. Thunder Over Louisville is preceded by an air show that is held during the day. The air show involves around one hundred planes performing stunts to the crowd’s delight. Thunder Over Louisville marks the beginning of the Kentucky derby festival that runs for almost two weeks.
Another popular event at the Kentucky derby is the Derby marathon. This is a twenty six mile marathon held during the Kentucky derby festival. For those with less stamina but still eager to take part, there is the twelve mile Derby mini Marathon. Over twelve thousand people from all over the world come to take part in both of these events. The course of the marathons run through the parks in Louisville and is quite scenic. The Kentucky derby mini marathon has proved to be quite popular with tourists.
The Great balloon festival is yet another attraction at the Kentucky derby festival. It constitutes a series of five events finally leading up to the climax which is the Great balloon Race. The premier balloon race held at the Kentucky derby only featured seven balloons. Over the years, this attraction has grown in leaps and bounds and is now made up of a weekend characterized by hot air balloons. All of the great balloon festival events are fee as long as you possess a Pegasus pin. The only problem you may encounter is finding parking space.
The last attraction of the Kentucky derby happens to be the oldest. The Pegasus Parade has been taking part since the inception of the Kentucky derby. It is made up of spectacular floats, marching bands and even celebrities make an appearance.