Courvilles: Pointing A One-Eyed Rebel Toward The Kentucky Derby Dream

by Ferrin Peterson, DVM

Clay Courville aboard Un Ojo

Trainer Ricky Courville never hesitated to send a young man to do a job that might typically be associated with an older person.

Kevin Moody of Cypress Creek Equine had made a last-minute decision to run Un Ojo in the Feb. 26 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. The Grade 2 Rebel offered a $l million purse and 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points, enough to ensure a spot in the starting gate on the first Saturday in May. The stakes could not have been higher for Courville, a trainer who had never won a graded stake.

Still, the Louisiana-based conditioner could not possibly travel to Arkansas for the major Derby prep. He was tending to his wife, jockey Ashley Broussard, as she recovered from a broken leg. On the same day as the Rebel, he had one horse entered at Fair Grounds, another at Delta Downs. And, like so many outfits, his 31-horse operation was scrambling for help.


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