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Pat Valenzuela

'Road' looks smooth, but Derby infamous for throwing curves

If you listen to the talk, Bellamy Road will win Saturday's Kentucky Derby. But the thing about the Derby is that you can always count on the unexpected.

Last year, a fan favorite named Smarty Jones, a little-regarded horse from Philadelphia Park, took the Arkansas route to Churchill Downs. He won the Derby and Preakness before losing in the Belmont Stakes.

His performance grabbed people beyond the usual racing fans. And that's what horse racing is in desperate need of - a hero who is recognized beyond the pari-mutuel windows.

Saturday, the next great hope will wear a blanket of roses, with two weeks to get ready to run at Pimlico Race Course in the...