Thoroughbred racehorse Justify may have won the 144th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, but for some fans, the real race was a derby of a different kind.
The very first Alpaca Kentucky Derby, which took place before the famous horse race, may be the quirkiest, cutest two minutes in sports history. Here’s a video of it, in case you missed it:
The race, covered by NBC Sports, took place in Pleasureville, KY at Black Horse Manor shortly before the real Kentucky Derby.
Each alpaca took on a horse’s name from the leaderboard, with the idea being that the alpaca race would predict the winner of the horse race.
In an interview with TODAY, the woman behind the event shared how the event came to be.
Horse farm owner and trainer Jannie Giles had taken in several aplacas from a nearby farm that was closing a few years ago. After herding them on her farm and seeing them run and jump, she thought about getting them on a track for a short race.
“I’ve had the alpacas for about a year and a half,” said Jannie Giles, who is on the board of the local humane society and rescues many animals including donkeys, dogs and cats. “The alpacas roam free during the day but at night they go into a smaller area. They love to run and jump and play.”
Her idea came to life this weekend, in all of its fluffy glory.
And although the alpaca race did not turn out to be an accurate predictor of the Kentucky Derby winner, Giles was pleased to see the alpaca running as My Boy Jack made the photo finish.
“He’s not the smartest guy, that one,” said Giles, describing the somewhat lazy alpaca who is mostly fond of eating grass and lying down. “But we called him Forrest Gump because yesterday he could run!”
Giles hopes her Alpaca Derby will become a tradition and that it will help bring awareness to alpacas.
In fact, she recommends them as pets!
“They are safe, easy to keep and don’t eat a lot,” she added.
NBC Sports video and additional reporting by Annie Koeblitz and Marisa Marcellino.