Sitting underneath the twin spires of Churchill Downs at this Saturday’s Kentucky Derby will be trainer Doug O’Neill’s good luck charm — a 13-year-old girl from Missouri named Hope Hudson.
Last year O’Neill captured the nation’s attention as the trainer of I’ll Have Another, who ran to inspirational wins in the Kentucky Derby and at the Preakness. I’ll Have Another fell short of Triple Crown history the Friday before Belmont when an injury sidelined the two-year old just one day before the race. But all along the way from Churchill Downs to Pimlico and then to New York, the then 12-year old Hope was a part of the journey. She was such an integral part of the journey that she'll be present on Saturday when O'Neill's horse Goldencents goes off as one of the race's favorites.
How'd this whole relationship come about? Well, the Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Hope’s wish to see the Kentucky Derby in person last spring, allowing the not-quite-yet-a-teenager to achieve a long-lasting dream. Hope has a rare genetic disorder named Hadju-Cheney Syndrome, also called Serpentine Fibula Polycystic Kidney Syndrome. The foundation partnered with O’Neill who hosted her during the Derby to make her dream come true. Though wheelchair bound, Hope is an avid follower of all things dealing with horses.Read More »from Goldencents’ good luck charm for the Kentucky Derby is a 13-year-old girl named Hope