Local horses saddle up for the Kentucky Derby

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NORTH HAVEN–Are you ready for the race of the year?

Saddle up, because the Kentucky Derby will be held Saturday, May 2, and two horses owned by native Nutmeggers will be jockeyed around the track.

Keen Ice and Upstart are among the horses to make the Kentucky Derby this year, and Fox CT spoke to two of Keen Ice’s owners.

John Buckley and Ralph Durante of North Haven partnered with Donegal Racing Stables, a partnership in Iowa, to invest in the 3-year-old colt.

“The idea is to buy a horse that we can improve upon,” Buckley said of Keen Ice, who has placed third or fourth in his racs. “We’ve had horses that have gone on to win stakes.”

Buckley also said that Keen Ice’s “best days are ahead of him.

It’s almost like watching one of your children play in a sporting event,” he added.

Meanwhile, Upstart is the other local horse to receive one of the 20 invitations to the Derby. Upstart’s only been racing for a few months, but he’s never placed below third, and even went on to win the Holy Bull race at Gulfstream Park in Florida.

The horse is owned by Ralph Evans of Greenwich, who has been a thoroughbred owner for 50 years.