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Kentucky Derby racers with Ocala roots

Published: May. 2, 2019 at 5:12 PM EDT
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It's the biggest time of the year for horse racing, as we are just days away from the Kentucky Derby.

And many trainers here in North Central Florida have their sights set on a win.

Many of the horses in this year's Kentucky Derby have had some type of training in Marion County.

It’s tough training to be a race horse, especially getting to the most prestigious race, the Kentucky Derby.

It takes weeks of work, that Ocala based trainer David Scanlon knows all too well.

“It’s almost like he’s in the pros now and I’m like university were he got drafted from,” he said.

Scanlon has trained hundreds of horses and this year one of his students, By My Standards, is running in the Kentucky Derby.

“I see him on tv now and I’m like wow look how much he’s changed and filled out and grown,” Scanlon added.

Mark Casse is another Ocala based trainer, who’s followed War of Will to Kentucky for the big day.

“He goes out at like 7 in the morning. They actually have a special time for the Derby horses. He goes out to the track, most of the time they’ll do what’s called a gallop which is going out 60 percent of their speed,” Casse said over video chat.

And while this years race will take place in just a few days, Scanlon said he may have a winner for next year, bringing out a 2-year-old son of American Pharoah.

American Pharoah won the Kentucky Derby in 2015 and then went on to win the triple crown.

With the blood of a champion racehorse pumping through his veins, Scanlon hopes lightning will strike again.

Derby favorite Omaha Beach has been scratched from the Derby due to breathing problems. He had trained at Classic Mile in Ocala.

Other horses racing in this year's Kentucky Derby that have trained in Ocala are Roadster, Win Win Win and Vekoma.