Stumbo picks Exaggerator but thinks twice of betting while Gov. Bevin mans wager booth

05/07/2016 03:12 PM

LOUISVILLE — Like Gov. Matt Bevin before him, House Speaker Greg Stumbo said Saturday’s running of the 142nd Kentucky Derby is a day to ignore politics and enjoy one of the state’s signature events.

Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said he almost hopped in line as the first-year governor took part in one of the vital but lesser recognized aspects of the Derby: handling bets.

With a Churchill Downs staffer watching over his shoulder, Bevin manned a wagering booth in Millionaire’s Row. Stumbo picked Exaggerator — a “natural pick” for politicians, he said — in the big race, but he thought better of placing his bet with Bevin at the betting counter.

“I maybe thought that would’ve been a bad omen for betting so I didn’t,” Stumbo said. “But on Derby day, we’re all Kentuckians.”

But Stumbo said he wasn’t concerned that Bevin would select a different horse for Stumbo than the one on which he wanted to wager.

“He might have, and I would’ve probably had better odds of winning if he had’ve,” he said, smiling.

Stumbo’s wife, Mary Karen Stumbo, said she’s hoping Oscar Nominated wins because that’s the horse their daughter has picked.

She’s also had better luck at recent Derby races than her husband.

“I won last year, so I’m good,” Stumbo said.

“It’s like everybody else,” Greg Stumbo added. “Some days are better than others.”

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