(WVUE) - Most of you know Ronnie Lamarque the car salesman - sometimes actor and singer. He's also a thoroughbred horse owner since 1986. In 1988, Lamarque-owned Risen Star won two legs of the Triple Crown, the Preakness and the Belmont, finishing third in the Kentucky Derby. A result that still haunts him to this day.
"That Derby got away from us. Risen Star, he was the greatest horse. God gave us a champion, and man blew it, not the horse," said Lamarque. "So we won the Belmont, Preakness, but if you don't win the Derby you're out. It got away from us. I fell real bad about that."
Lamarque also owned a horse that finished fifth in the Derby in 2008. With two trips to Louisville under his belt, he has some advice for first-time owners Tom and Gayle Benson at the Run for the Roses.
"Once you put the horse on the track, it's up to the horse and jockey. It's up to have an opening, the Lord to direct him. They gotta take it all in. It would be wonderful at Mr. Benson's age, and all the controversy, to win the Derby. I'll be pulling for Mr. Benson. I would love to see him win," Lamarque said.
Lamarque still dreams of making it back to the Derby, but only if he's rooting on his own horse.
"There's nothing better than the Kentucky Derby. To win that is the epitome, that's it. Not having a horse in it kind of hurts. I want to go when I have a contender, not a pretender," said Lamarque.
After Risen Star won the Belmont, Lamarque vividly remembers Tom Benson sending a telegraph congratulating on the big win.