SPORTS

Half-blind Kentucky Derby horse named Patch has eye on roses

Kentucky Derby bettors will want to keep an eye on a half-blind horse in Saturday’s 143rd Run for the Roses.

Patch is a longshot, but he still has a chance in the eyes of some handicappers after a second-place finish in the Louisiana Derby.

The 3-year-old lived up to his name when vets removed his left eye 11 months ago due to inflammation, leaving an empty, Ping-Pong ball-size socket, The Washington Post reports.

“We came in one morning and his eye was a little bit swollen, and he was tearing heavily,” said Patch’s trainer Todd Pletcher.

Patch recovered quickly after the surgery.

“We thought there might be a period where he needed to adjust, that he would carry himself a little differently,” said Pletcher.

Patch runs without a prosthesis as some one-eyed horses do.

"Sometimes it just creeps people out to have the socket, but obviously the horse doesn't care one way or the other," veterinarian and professor Nicole Scherrer told the Post. 

Patch has raced three times with one win.

He is a 30-1 longshot Saturday at Churchill Downs in Kentucky, the first leg of the Triple Crown.

Three horses with one eye have run in the Derby in past years and lost.

Patch has collected fans on social media with his story. The horse has his own Twitter account.

”I kind of anticipated Patch would become pretty popular,” Pletcher said. ”It’s an intriguing story and he’s a really, really cool horse to be around. He’s very laid back, very professional, very straightforward to train.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.