Radiohead the Horse Readies for Kentucky Derby

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Don’t know about you, but when we think Kentucky Derby, we think big, dramatic hats, mint juleps and roses. Usually, Thom Yorke doesn’t factor into the equation. But Radiohead will have a presence at this year’s Run for the Roses. In this case, Radiohead, a three-year-old chestnut colt named after Yorke & Co., was bred and born in England but recently moved to the U.S. with his new owner. The horse, which is owned by IEAH stables, has been given 20-1 odds of winning the famous race, according to the Miami Herald.

Like his namesake, Radiohead is getting quite a bit of buzz in the horse racing world these days. He’s been compared to Big Brown, the horse that almost won the elusive Triple Crown back in 2008. Big Brown won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes before suffering a heartbreaking defeat, coming in last place at the Belmont Stakes. He’s now enjoying the luxurious existence of a stud horse on a farm in Kentucky, fetching $55,000 per, um, session.

Both horses started their racing careers on grass before moving to dirt, and both won Gulfstream races before moving on to the big leagues of the Triple Crown races. Radiohead has never raced the one and a quarter mile length of the Kentucky Derby, though. “Radiohead is green. He’s learning,” the horse’s owner Michael Iavarone told the Miami Herald. “There’s no dirt racing in Europe, so you buy on pedigree and hope he can handle the dirt, and we’ve been pleasantly surprised. But he’s up against a lot of speed in this race.’‘

The young horse’s temperament follows that of his namesake band. Trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. describes him as wanting to do things his own way, and says he’ll even capitalize on opportunities to bite people who come too close when he’s in a particular mood. “He’s a cool, happy, curious horse,” Dutrow said. “He’s very proud of himself. He’s game, you know. He’s game for an idea. He knows he’s going to have to show he can run against good horses.”