Gayle Benson reflects fondly on Mr. B with the Kentucky Derby approaching

Updated: May. 1, 2018 at 10:22 PM CDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WVUE) - Only one day after saying goodbye to to the love of her life, Tom, Gayle Benson's horse, Lone Sailor, qualified for the Kentucky Derby. The second-place finish in the Louisiana Derby was a bittersweet experience.

"It's been very difficult. It's been an emotional roller coaster for me. But it's also been a blessing at the same time. I'm just so grateful for the opportunity to be in," said Gayle Benson.

The Bensons own a Super Bowl trophy, but are for 0-2 here at the Kentucky Derby. Tom was obsessed with success, and that commitment to winning carries on with Gayle.

"My husband talked to me all the time about these teams, and how much he loved them. I've been with him for 14 years, and I knew his love for them. We talked about it all the time. I knew his love for the Derby, how much he wanted to win it. The first year we went, he said to me, or said to Greg and myself, 'Why aren't we in it this year?' He wanted to be in it every single year, once he was in it the first time. That just pushed us to do it again."

With the Pelicans successful playoff push and a trip to the Derby this weekend, Gayle is staying extremely busy.

"I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to come to work every day. I get here at 8:30 in the morning, I leave here at 5:30-6 o'clock. I go home and I'm exhausted, which is good. Then I go to sleep, and start over the next day. It's been good, the work is a big help."

There's a field of 20 horses in the Derby, and anything can happen. Even a little help from Mr. B could be the difference in The Run for the Roses.

"Absolutely I feel that. I think he's up there watching us, and helping along," Gayle said while holding back tears.

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