NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Two years ago GMB Racing came out of nowhere to become a "big player" in "The Sport of Kings." Gayle and Tom's racing operation was in it's infancy back in 2016, but they still sent, not one, but two horses to the Kentucky Derby. The Benson's horses finished 8th and 12th, in the "Super Bowl of Racing." This Saturday, GMB will send out another thoroughbred with an eye on "The Run for the Roses," in Lone Sailor. With the passing of Mr. Benson, another run to Louisville almost feels like fate.
"If you've been in horse racing for any stretch of time, you're going to start believing in karma. I've seen it happen too many times," said Lone Sailor trainer, Tom Amoss. "This would be awesome karma to be able to perform well, and take this horse to the Kentucky Derby with GMB and Mrs. Benson. Sometimes destiny is just what it is. A first or a second Saturday, and we're on to the Kentucky Derby."
Lone Sailor is considered an underdog in the Louisiana Derby, 20-1 odds. But don't let those numbers fool ya, he has a shot to get to the Kentucky Derby.
"Oh certainly he's an underdog, but a longshot with a real chance. When you look the race over on Saturday. What you find is a lot of different styles in the race. Lone Sailor is a confirmed closer. So what he needs to have happen, is for a lot of pace up front. A lot of horses competing for the lead, using a lot of energy, while he's saving his energy to run at the end. When you look at this race on paper, that's what you see. A lot of pace, a real positive for us," said Amoss.
Another fascinating aspect of horse racing is the names of the thoroughbreds. With Benson being in the Navy, Lone Sailor has his own unique story.
He was an enlisted man on the USS South Dakota I believe, which is a big, big ship. The captain had all the enlisted men come on-deck before they were about to sail. He asked, "Can anyone here type?" This is mid-40's World War 2. Not everybody typed back then, and Mr. Benson raised his hand. He became the captain's right-hand man, and that's how he had his whole career in the Navy. But there's one thing that should be said, he could not type," said a smiling Amoss. "Mr. Benson was brilliant, also very savvy. He saw an opportunity, and took advantage of it. The lone sailor who raised his hand on the deck that day."