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In sports, everybody loves an underdog, and this year's Kentucky Derby has one unlike most others. Three-year old horse Patch lost his left eye 11 months ago after extreme inflammation. Doctors claimed it could not be salvaged, and the young horse's life has drastically changed. On Saturday, Patch will be one of five horses entered by Todd Pletcher in the 143rd Kentucky Derby.

Eleven months ago, Patch's eye began to swell and tear up, but there were no clear signs of serious injury. He was sent to a medical clinic where doctors indicated he had an ulcer in his left eye, and they were unable to save it. Luckily, he had a speedy recovery and was able to start training quicker than expected.

"He's a remarkable horse to lose his left eye in the middle of last summer and recover as quickly as he did," said Pletcher. "It seems to never faze him."
 
Peripheral vision is important for horses, especially when racing, and without one eye, Patch only sees one half of the world.
 

Patch is not the only horse to ever race with one eye. Three one-eyed horses have entered the Kentucky Derby in the past and lost. The extraordinary part of Patch's story is not simply his injury, his recovery or his determination but rather his chances. He has a real shot at winning his race during the first leg of the Triple Crown, which would go down in history as one of the greatest stories ever.

After his story went public, he has become one of the most talked about horses this year.

”I kind of anticipated Patch would become pretty popular,” Pletcher said. ”It’s an intriguing story and he’s a really, really cool horse to be around. He’s very laid back, very professional, very straightforward to train.”

The odds are 30-1 for Patch on Saturday, and if he wins, it would be an upset, but you can definitely count on some people putting money on him because of his heartfelt story. He has successfully captured America's heart, and now we must wait and see if he can capture the win as well.

Whether people truly believe Patch can win the Kentucky Derby or just want to root for the underdog, his inspirational story and journey is quite an impressive one. Making it to the Kentucky Derby is difficult alone but doing it with one eye and only one year after serious surgery is mind-blowing. Hopefully Patch can shock the world this weekend!

Published by Lia Assimakopoulos