Knoxville man to live out dreams at Kentucky Derby

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) – For Knoxville native Mike Carver the dream of owning a horse at the Kentucky Derby started in 1971.

“I went to the University of Tennessee and in 1971, a couple fraternity brothers and I decided to do a road trip” said Carver. “Our road trip was going to be to the Kentucky Derby.”

After betting on the winning horse, Canonero II, Carver knew he wanted to make the dream a reality, but it would be fifty years before he was able to test that luck again.

“The pageantry, the fun and excitement was overwhelming” said Carver.

Carver has owned several horses in the past, but O Besos is his first horse who qualified for the Kentucky Derby.

“I started crying” said Carver. “To have an opportunity to win the Kentucky Derby? I’m just so blessed.”

O Besos comes from a long line of successful thoroughbreds. His sire Orb won the Kentucky Derby in 2013, but it was his dam, Snuggs and Kisses that sealed the deal for Carver.

“I look at my own family, my four kids, their best characteristics are from my wife” said Carver. “Snuggs and Kisses placed in 21 out of 32 races and won some long distance races. She won 12 times.”

Carver is happy to have a horse at Churchill Downs but says they’re not going to Louisville to lose.

“Game on as far as I’m concerned, we’re not scared of anybody in this race” said Carver.

O’Besos is currently a long shot with 20-1 odds but Carver says they need three things to break their way to pull off the upset.

O Besos needs to be a little faster than he was at the Louisiana Derby where they finished 3rd back in March. They need a clean start to the race and they need a good pace.

Carver said “I think we have a good shot to shock the world and win the Kentucky Derby.”

O Besos will start in the 6th post position at Churchill Downs.

Post time for the race is set for 6:57 pm on Saturday.

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