Drury finally draws a graded stakes winner, hopes for a Derby shot

Bluegrass Stakes winner Art Collector fell to Tom Drury, who hopes the horse can contend at the Kentucky Derby.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Between all of the interviews and calls, life is a little different now for longtime horse trainer Tom Drury.

“It’s certainly not the same as it was the day before the Bluegrass, that’s for sure,” Drury said.

That’s because the nearly 30-year veteran finally has a graded stakes win. Art Collector brought it home for him in the Bluegrass Stakes, meaning Drury can enjoy some well-earned spotlight for once. 

At Skylight Training Center in Goshen, he’s typically known for helping train horses for other trainers.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Drury. “I think it gives us a little more credibility. We’ve been around a lot of good horses here at the training center. We’ve been involved with a lot of good horses. And now all of a sudden, to have our name next to one, it’s exciting and I think there’s a sense of accomplishment that goes along with that.”

But also a sense of fate. Drury started training Art Collector in the spring after a drug violation caused owner Bruce Lunsford to take the horse away from his former trainer in Joe Sharp. 

While the colt was with Drury, COVID-19 caused tracks to close and restricted travel. So the horse stayed, somehow becoming a pandemic positive.

“I think that’s the only way you can look at this,” Drury said. “It’s hard to find the words to describe it, but everything’s just falling into place with him. He’s a very kind, easy horse to work around and to work with.”

Now, the Louisville native hopes the duo can make it to the Kentucky Derby. Art Collector currently sits in fifth in the standings for the Run for the Roses, priming himself as a contender.

“It’s something you dream about,” Drury said of racing in the Derby. “It’s not something you ever think about being a reality and actually happening to you. It’s almost like people talking about if they hit the lottery, what they would do, how they would react to it.”

Finally, that ticket might have fallen into his hands.

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