Why Colonel John Should Be Your Kentucky Derby Favorite Tomorrow

Perhaps the story of Colonel John's well known amongst the horse-racing locals or even casual fans, but I'll confess: I didn't know till this a.m. that the 4-1 Kentucky Derby contender is named for a Dallas Iraq War vet -- Army Reserve Lt. Col. John Geider. Says the Associated Press this a.m., Geider served seven months in Iraq in 2005, and now handles security and transportation for Dallas billionaire Kenny Troutt, who co-owns the colt with Bill and Susan Casner.

On Monday, the Courier-Journal in Louisville ran a lengthy piece on the horse and his namesake, who has served in the Army and Air Force, primarily in intelligence, for nearly three decades. Says Susan Casner: "I waited awhile to find a horse I felt would honor John. We felt this was the one for the name. It was that feeling again. John's just a very special person. He was somebody who took care of us all. He loves his country, and there's the chance he may even go back [to Iraq]. I said, 'John, if you're called, will you go?' He said, 'I sure will.' He's a soldier through and through." Though, as The Miami Herald notes this morning, when Geider went to meet the horse yesterday, "Colonel John bit his hand." --Robert Wilonsky

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