Good morning, folks! It feels appropriate that the first Kentucky Derby in years with absolutely perfect weather would happen during a global plague. I hope those homemade mint juleps were extra strong this time around. I know you needed it. So shake off that hangover, grab some coffee (maybe throw some bourbon cream in there), and settle in for another Sunday here on Kentucky Sports Radio dot com. Here’s what you need to know to start your day.
Three Derbys in one day?
The Arkansas Derby tried its best to give horse racing fans a fallback from the 146th running Kentucky Derby, which has been rescheduled for September. The Razorback state hosted not one, but TWO Derbys, which they split into two separate divisions. The overwhelming favorite from Divison I, Charlatan, took home an easy victory, posting the second-fastest time in Arkansas Derby history over the last 25 years. Charlatan’s trainer, Bob Baffert, made it a two-for-two sweep in the second race as his other horse Nadal (also the favorite) won by two-and-a-half lengths. Nadal even beat out Charlatan’s final time by .15 seconds.
Charlatan and Nadal are now one step closer to qualifying for the now-rescheduled Kentucky Derby, which is slated for Sept. 5.
But Churchill Downs refused to let the state of Arkansas outshine them. In a virtual race featuring every single Triple Crown winner in Kentucky Derby history, the elites of the elites lined up side-by-side to unofficially decide who is the true GOAT (or would it be GHOAT?). And unsurprisingly, Secretariat (1973) came out on top, coming back late in the race to secure a nail-biting win. Coming in second was Citation (1943), followed by Seattle Slew (1977) in third, Affirmed (1978) in fourth, and recent Triple Crown winner American Pharoah (2015) coming in fifth.
Watch it again! The 13 Triple Crown winners face off in a virtual race under the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs.
— Kentucky Derby (@KentuckyDerby) May 2, 2020
Here is the official final order:
Official order of finish for @KentuckyDerby Triple Crown Showdown:
13-Sir Barton pic.twitter.com/jflih5J0cg
— Churchill Downs PR (@DerbyMedia) May 2, 2020
Is there anything more Kentucky than virtual horse racing?
Also, Nick Roush is now a Steelers fan. We can thank Nadal for that.
GO STILLERS! ??????
— Nick Roush (@RoushKSR) May 2, 2020
Isaiah Jackson is getting some serious love
On to another Kentucky tradition, a future basketball Wildcat received some high praise from two recruiting analysts over at Rivals. 6-foot-9 forward Isaiah Jackson might not be the shiniest stud in Kentucky’s loaded recruiting class for 2020, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t an elite talent.
“Isaiah Jackson is the most underrated post player in the class,” said Dan McDonald of Rivals. “I honestly wouldn’t be too surprised if he ends up being the best post player in the class when all is said and done. I love how active he is to go along with his athleticism and skill level.”
Jackson is ranked as the 27th best prospect in his class and the third-ranked power forward, but he’s *only* John Calipari’s fourth highest-rated player, according to Rivals.
“A few of the players that I feel we currently have too low that I’ll be advocating in the rankings process include Kentucky-bound big man Isaiah Jackson,” Eric Bossi, another respected recruiting analyst, said.
This should music to everybody’s ears as Kentucky is still in the hunt for another big man to fill out the roster. Odds are Coach Cal will still manage to land himself a center, but knowing that Jackson could come in and immediately contribute makes that need a bit less obvious.
When the Big Dog speaks, you listen
Kentucky football’s recruiting guru is never short on dropping some fire and that’s exactly what he did in a recent podcast. Associate head coach Vince Marrow hopped on the Behind Kentucky Football pod with Curtis Burch to hype up the future NFL talent he’s had a major hand in developing.
“All you’ve gotta do is look at the way we’ve recruited,” Marrow said. “The guys we’ve got coming back next year, this maybe could, on paper, potentially be our best team. Better even than the ‘18 team because we’ve got a lot of guys back. What it’s going to depend on is Terry (Wilson) at the quarterback position. But we’re going to have a lot of prospects that the NFL is going to be looking at next year. Next year will be like ‘18 where we could have seven guys drafted, easily.”
And for some reason, ESPN still predicts Kentucky will only win seven games next season. Go ahead and keep doubting Marrow, Mark Stoops, and the rest of the Kentucky staff. It seems they prefer it that way.
Who did it better?
Your final piece of news for the day comes from future Kentucky volleyball commit, Sophie Fischer, who is probably about to receive a recruiting letter or two from Marrow. Watch as she snags footballs with one hand while balancing on one leg. She even took off her glove halfway through. I guess she needed to up the challenge.
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(the answer is yes)
And that is everything you need to know as we roll into the final day of another week stuck in quarantine. Parts 5 and 6 of ESPN’s The Last Dance will take place later this evening starting at 9 p.m. EST. Chicago Bulls center Toni Kukoc and the New York Knicks are expected to be highlighted in the upcoming episodes. Stay safe out there.