Derby hopeful's habits create quite the reputation - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Derby hopeful's habits create quite the reputation

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Ride On Curlin will stick his tongue out at you as well as everyone who paid hundreds of thousands for yearlings in 2012. Ride On Curlin will stick his tongue out at you as well as everyone who paid hundreds of thousands for yearlings in 2012.
Lori Dougherty with Ride On Curlin Lori Dougherty with Ride On Curlin
Dan Dougherty Dan Dougherty
Bridget Lambert Bridget Lambert

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - You would think the colt of a two time Horse of the Year, who earned more than $10 million, would be sold for huge bucks, but a Louisville couple bought Curlin's colt for a bargain price because his front feet were turned in. And that's not all that's different about the Derby horse.

Ride On Curlin will stick his tongue out at you as well as everyone who paid hundreds of thousands for yearlings in 2012. He was only sold for $25,000 but he has finished on the board in eight of none races. Ever since he finished 2nd in the Arkansas Derby his owner's phones have been lighting up with offers to buy him, some for up to $1 million. But he is not for sale.

Lori and Dan Dougherty are enjoying every minute of the journey, that is unless they get too close to their prize horse because sticking out his tongue isn't his only habit.

Ride On Curlin is known for biting. He has even bitten jockey Calvin Borel, but when he sticks out his tongue and you grab it and don't take your eye off him then he submits.

However, when Ride On Curlin does bite, it's usually no laughing matter.

"I was walking in front of him, he grabbed me by the pony tail and slammed me to the ground," said his groom Bridget Lambert.

Trainer Billy Gowan said anyone Ride On Curlin can reach can become a victim, "People walking by not paying attention. He would reach out and rip their jacket sleeve, one day feathers flew everywhere! It was a goose down jacket."

Luckily when the Dougherty's daughter Cookie became one of his targets she had an arm left to make a warning sign.

"Ride On Curlin bit me and my arm turned purple," she said. "So my dad made me make a sign for him. It  says ‘caution...horse bites!!!'"

Ride On Curlin's reputation for biting led to a great prank on his owner Dan Dougherty at Churchill Downs.

"I had a friend come out to the track last week and told me the horse bit his ear off and I thought he was totally serious," he said.

"He'll bite ya and then he'll stick out his tongue like he's apologizing to ya. He knows he did bad so he sticks out his tongue so he knows you'll play with it," said Gowan.

The Dougherty's daughters love the horse and said he feels like a part of the family. They also feel Gowan's daughters are family.

At school their classmates know the girls have a Derby horse and ask lots of questions.

"People come up to me every day and they are like ‘are you riding the horse?' and I'm like ‘no, jockeys ride the horse,'" their daughter said.

"This experience is one time and I've pulled my kids out a school a couple of times. I mean this is the Kentucky Derby," said Lori Dougherty.

A horse that if he wins, might need a little extra attention in the winner's circle.

Dan Dougherty said, "You've got horses like I'll Have Another and Mine That Bird that were even less than him that ended up winning the derby so its just like the lottery!"

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