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Kentucky Derby favorite named after Usain Bolt

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His name is Bolt d’Oro.

One of the early favorites for the Kentucky Derby (NBC, May 5) is indeed named after Usain Bolt.

Ike Green coined the name — a mix of homages to the Jamaican sprinter and its sire, Medaglia d’Oro — after watching Bolt on TV during the Rio Olympics. Green was one of Bolt d’Oro’s early trainers at owner Mick Ruis‘ ranch in Montana.

“If you’ve ever just seen him run across the pasture, he just does it so easy and effortlessly,” Green said. “You ever notice how when Usain Bolt gets in front, he just starts grinning? Any time you watch him race, as soon as he’s in front, he gets a smile. The horse did everything so easy, I think it was kind of the same deal.”

In 2002, Medaglia d’Oro finished fourth at the Kentucky Derby and second at the Belmont Stakes. Bolt d’Oro was foaled St. Patrick’s Day 2015.

Bolt d’Oro was actually the third choice for a name when Green’s wife, Aidan, went to submit it just before a Feb. 1, 2017 deadline.

“I think, originally, Mick had wanted to name him Alvin after himself [Alvin “Mick” Ruis], and when Aidan tried to submit that, she found out that Mick had named one that just a few years ago. [Ruis] had already forgotten,” Green said. “The second name she submitted for him was The Notorious One, but that was trademarked by [MMA fighter] Conor McGregor.

“I think, after the first couple got rejected, [Ruis] just said, just get him named. He didn’t care, if I recall right.”

Bolt has led a Kentucky Derby media poll four straight weeks heading into his first race in nearly a month, headlining the Santa Anita Derby on Saturday. The Santa Anita morning-line favorite was Bob Baffert‘s Justify, however.

“I’ve got [Bolt d’Oro] No. 1 in my rankings,” NBC analyst Randy Moss said. “He’s either going to be No. 1 or No. 2 in just about anybody’s rankings. … He’s a physical specimen, kind of like his namesake. Right now he’s on the very short list for the Kentucky Derby.”

Santa Anita airs during NBCSN’s broadcast that also includes the Blue Grass Stakes and Wood Memorial from 5:30-7:30 p.m. ET.

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Bode Miller will take at least one year off, buys barn, report says

Bode Miller
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Six-time Olympic medalist Bode Miller said he will take at least one year off from Alpine skiing, according to BloodHorse.com, which also reported Miller bought a barn to continue his venture into horse racing.

Miller, 37 and the most decorated U.S. Olympic skier of all time, previously said on June 15 that it was unlikely he would race the full 2015-16 World Cup season, which starts in October, and agreed it was possible he would ski a partial schedule.

Miller crashed in the World Championships super-G on Feb. 5 (video here), underwent surgery to repair a severed right hamstring tendon and missed the rest of the season.

Miller finalized the purchase of a barn near Elkton, Md., on Tuesday, according to BloodHorse.com, which reported he “hopes to bring a new approach to training thoroughbreds.”

Miller is noted friends with trainer Bob Baffert, who won the Triple Crown this year with American Pharoah. Baffert named a son after Miller.

“That’s been my goal for the past five or six years,” Miller told BloodHorse.com of Baffert’s feat, the first since 1978. “Bob is a close friend of mine, and I couldn’t have been happier for him and [wife] Jill and the whole team really, but at the same time I was frustrated because I think we’re heading in that same direction. We want to reproduce that.”

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Johnny Weir, Tara Lipinski ready to provide ‘cultural look’ inside Kentucky Derby

Johnny Weir, Tara Lipinski
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Johnny Weir‘s theme for his Kentucky Derby hat is Pegasus.

Weir and Sochi figure skating cohort Tara Lipinski have done their homework for their next assignment — fashion experts for this weekend at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Weir called it Kentucky’s version of New York’s Fashion Week.

“Tara and I will be providing sort of a cultural look inside the Kentucky Derby,” Weir said in a teleconference Tuesday. “There is something so lovely about Southern charm and sweet tea and fried green tomatoes and every movie we see with the debutantes and the huge dresses.”

Weir said their work will include pre-filmed spots for Saturday’s coverage (12-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4-7 on NBC) as well as giving updates during the show and any necessary post-event follow-ups. NBCSN also has Kentucky Oaks coverage Friday from 3-6.

Weir and Lipinski both rode horses growing up in Pennsylvania and Texas, respectively. But they will bring a different flavor to the Run for the Roses.

“Like, ‘Oh, we saw Jay Z and Beyoncé sitting over there, and we sat on their laps and we sang to them and we enjoyed it,'” Weir offered as an example.

The retired skaters are working together for at least the third time since Sochi. They also covered the Academy Awards and the Best of U.S. Awards.

“We love working together and sharing our own special bit of moxie and sparkle with the world,” Weir said. “I personally would never tire of my little blond munchkin.”

They will be respectful of Derby fashion, even if it doesn’t always agree with their differing tastes. Lipinski said there won’t be a fashion police element to it.

“I’m sure we’ll have some distinct and very outspoken moments,” the 1998 Olympic champion said. “But at the same time, I don’t think it’s going to be catty.”

Weir said “a little birdie” gave him advice on which horse to pick — Danza, the Arkansas Derby winner named after the “Who’s the Boss?” star. Lipinski planned to have girlfriends over Tuesday to learn about the horses, after she spent the afternoon “in a sea of hats” getting fitted.

It will be Lipinski’s first Kentucky Derby and Weir’s second. Weir also went in 2010 and has learned from the experience, when he dressed for a slight chill and ended up sweating while meeting Tom BradyJerry O’Connell and Rebecca Romijn.

“It was not cute,” Weir said.

Weir is taking no chances on his return trip, consulting on hat selection with A-Morir’s Kerin Rose Gold, who he said also created fashion items for RihannaLady Gaga and Katy Perry.

“I obviously needed a custom hat, because I’m me,” Weir said. “My theme for the hat for the Derby day is Pegasus.

“I like to wear craziness at all costs, because that’s my personality. I’m definitely going to bring myself to Kentucky, but I wanted a little bit of tradition to what I’m wearing.”

Weir, who began riding English saddle when he was about 8, said he was on the fast track to becoming something in show jumping before focusing on figure skating.

“Who knows, maybe I’ll compete in the Summer Olympics for equestrian one day,” Weir joked.

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