Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sasscer Hill: Special Kentucky Derby Guest Post

Napravnik & Pants on Fire winning $1million Louisiana Derby
For today's Kentucky Derby, I welcome Mystery Author Sasscer Hill as a guest blogger.

Sasscer Hill lives on a Maryland farm and has bred racehorses for many years. A winner of amateur steeplechase events, she has galloped her horses on the farm and trained them into the winner's circle. She is the author of several mysteries in the Chesapeake Crimes' anthology series, and her articles have appeared in numerous magazines. Full Mortality is her first novel. The first chapter of FULL MORTALITY is available to read online at


There are several colts I like in the Derby. A horse named Dialed In, whose trainer is Nick Zito; a horse named Nehro, with Steve Asmussen as the trainer; and finally, my emotional pick, Pants on Fire.

How can you not like a racehorse with a name like Pants on Fire? My heart is bound to this colt and his female jockey because of the rider’s connection to my horse racing mystery, Full Mortality. My book features the young, female, Maryland-jockey, Nikki Latrelle. Two of the themes in the Latrelle series are “fighting the odds,” and “chasing the dream.” In the Derby, Pants on Fire will be ridden by a young Maryland gal who, like Nikki, is competing with the male jocks. Her name is Anna Napravnik. Fans call her Rosie because of her red hair.

Many believe Pants on Fire has a lot of speed, but not the stamina to go the Derby distance of one and one-quarter miles. His pedigree and improving performances suggest otherwise.

“Fire’s” trainer is a man named Kelly Breen who knew his colt had brilliant speed. But Breen entered Fire into the one-million-dollar Loiuisiana Derby a few weeks back as a “rabbit” – that is, a horse to set a rocket pace that forces the other horses to go faster than they like, and allow a come-from-behinder with a late kick to blow by the field in the last strides. Fire was supposed to do this for Breen’s other entry, Nacho Business.

But Fire blossomed right before the Louisiana Derby, and despite Breen’s pre-race planning, he sensed his colt was sitting on a big race in the Louisiana Derby.

“I told Rosie,” Breen said, “that I thought this horse was coming into his own. So I said to her, ‘Give it a shot. Don’t just think we’re in here because we have nothing better to do. He’s doing awfully well. You don’t have to wing it and be a rabbit. Just be in a spot where you can win it when the time comes.’”

And she did!

Now, Pants on Fire is giving Anna Napravnik the chance to chase her biggest dream – winning the Kentucky Derby. Can you imagine the remarks by pundits and the press if the redheaded, Anna “Rosie” Napravnik beats the boys and wins the Kentucky Derby riding a horse named Pants On Fire?

For a list of Kentucky Derby Mysteries, go HERE.


Sasscer Hill said...

And most importantly, Janet, may God bless them all and keep them safe during this grueling test!

joanie murray said...

Pants on Fire has my bet. Thanks Lynda and yes, may they all come through safely! Happy Derby to all!

BPL Ref said...

I'm hoping for Pants on fire, too. Nehro is a second pick because of my late black Persian Nero who was named for Nero Wolfe. And of course, I have to pick Derby Kitten for the name too. I just hope all goes well and everyone has a lovely and safe time.

G.M. Malliet said...

My emotional pick was Mucho Macho Man. My "party pick" (drawn randomly from a hat at a derby party) was Nehro. Neither did too badly. Luck and wishful thinking are good systems.