Ronald H. Rodriguez of Chicago defeated 125,211 fellow handicappers to claim a $10,000 prize by selecting the winning Kentucky Derby 132 superfecta in the $1 million Kentucky Derby "Super" Challenge, a free contest sponsored by Churchill Downs Incorporated.Based online at kentuckyderby.com, the Kentucky Derby "Super" Challenge required participants to correctly select the top four finishers of Kentucky Derby 132 in the exact order. With a near-record crowd of 157,536 in attendance, Lael Stables' Barbaro cruised to a 6 1/2-length victory in the "Run for the Roses" for trainer Michael Matz under jockey Edgar Prado. WinStar Farm LLC's Bluegrass Cat was second, followed by Robert and Lawana Low's Steppenwolfer. Cecil Peacock's Brother Derek, the morning-line favorite, finished in a dead heat with Shadwell Stable's Jazil for fourth place.Rodriguez, 70, was one of two contestants to correctly select the winning superfecta of Barbaro, Bluegrass Cat, Steppenwolfer, and Brother Derek. In accordance with the official rules, the contest then came down to the fifth-place finisher, selected by participants at the time of entry for tiebreaking purposes.Because Rodriguez's selection, Sweetnorthernsaint (7th), finished in a higher position than the other contestant's selection, Rodriguez was named the official winner. No contestants selected Jazil to finish fourth, although the combination would also have been honored because of the dead heat."Horse racing is the only sport that garners my attention," said Rodriguez, a lifelong fan who has attended races at Arlington Park and various tracks along the West Coast. "I saw the contest on Kentuckyderby.com when I visited the site to check the starting lineup. I felt really good about Barbaro's chances, and from there, picking the Superfecta was a matter of post position and figuring out who might be coming up at the finish. While Brother Derek looked good, I decided that his post position wasn't worth more than fourth places."Unfortunately, I only placed the bet in the contest," Rodriguez added. "Next time, I'll place it at the track, too."Derby bettors whose winning superfecta ticket included Brother Derek in fourth place received $59,839 on a $2 wager, while those who had Jazil in fourth place received $84,860.40."We're delighted with the fan response to the Challenge and the high level of interest it generated," said Jeremy Clemons, senior director of marketing for CDI. "The Kentucky Derby is one of the greatest wagering opportunities in horse racing, and we believe this contest helped draw attention to that fact. We look forward to future opportunities to share our contests and overall racing product with our fans."
Tentative plans call for Rodriguez to receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Churchill Downs for Stephen Foster Day on June 17 and receive his $10,000 check in a winner's circle presentation.