Every SI Story ... Every SI Photo ... Ever SI.COM/VAULT

EXCERPT | May 11, 1987

Valiant Victory

Alysheba overtook Bet Twice to win a stirring Derby

The winner of just one of 10 previous career starts, Alysheba went off at odds of 8--1 in the 113th Kentucky Derby. William Nack reported for SI.

Turning into the top of the stretch, jockey Chris McCarron had Alysheba lying third and in quick range of Bet Twice and On The Line, who were bobbing heads apart on the lead. Then On The Line began to fold, and all there was left for McCarron to do was run down Bet Twice. He was doing precisely that, driving Alysheba toward Bet Twice's right flank, when jockey Craig Perret whipped his colt lefthanded and Bet Twice veered suddenly to the right, away from the sting of the stick and into Alysheba's path.

Alysheba's front hooves clipped the leader's heels. The bay son of Alydar stumbled badly, appearing almost to go to his knees. Behind him were some 10 tons of Derby horses, and had Alysheba fallen, sending horse and rider sprawling, there is no telling the tragedy that might have played out in the upper stretch at Churchill Downs. "At that point I didn't think I was gonna win it," said McCarron.

But win the Derby he did, even though a tired Bet Twice, staggering around the homestretch like the town drunk, drifted in front of him a second time, forcing Alysheba to swing out and go around him. McCarron beat a tattoo on his colt to keep him running, furiously whipping lefthanded, and in the final 70 yards Alysheba surged past Bet Twice to win by three quarters of a length. It was a remarkable performance, the centerpiece of a show that made for one of the most chilling, dramatic finishes in the recent history of the Derby.

Alysheba, who died in 2009, won the Preakness but lost to Bet Twice in the Belmont. He retired after winning the 1988 Breeders' Cup Classic.

SI.COM | Breaking News | Real-time Scores | Daily Analysis

NFL

MLB

RACING

NHL

NBA

Editor's Choice

The Next Big Thing

SI's Jon Heyman examines baseball's latest crop of rising stars

Some have said that the buildup is too much, the hype too high for Braves rookie phenom Jason Heyward. While those around him compare him with Willie McCovey, Willie Stargell and Ken Griffey, Heyward (above) remains unfazed. "I don't have any expectations,'' he says. "I just intend to be patient and take what the game gives me.'' But it isn't just the scouts and sportswriters going crazy over this 20-year-old kid; it's also unimpeachable experts such as Braves manager Bobby Cox, who, regarding Heyward's baserunning ability, said, "He has big-time instincts. He has some larceny in him.''

Featured Stories

NCAA EXPANSION

By Luke Winn

Duke's Kyle Singler will now see 67 other teams in the bracket in 2011

DOUBLE STANDARD

By Michael Rosenberg

How Roger Goodell's code-of-conduct policy differs for NFL coaches

THE ANSWER?

By Chris Ballard

Why Andre Miller holds the key to Portland's playoff success

PHOTOPhotograph by JERRY COOKEDUEL IN THE SUN Alysheba (center)—a son of three-time Triple Crown--race runner-up Alydar—gamely fought off a late stumble to get by Bet Twice (far right). PHOTODRAWING BY ROBERT RIGER PHOTOJERRY COOKE PHOTOSIMON BRUTY PHOTOBRAD MANGIN (HEYWARD) PHOTOROBERT BECK (SEDIN) PHOTODAVID BERGMAN (WILLIAMS) PHOTODAVID BERGMAN (GOODELL) PHOTOJOHN W. MCDONOUGH (DURANT) PHOTOJOHN W. MCDONOUGH (MILLER) PHOTOBOB ROSATO (SINGLER)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)