NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In the final portion of horse racing’s Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes takes place this weekend on Long Island.
One underdog contender’s story reads like a Hollywood script.
Galloping around Belmont Park, the beautiful bay looks like every other championship thoroughbred from his right side. He’s a special horse whose name was given to him long before it became fitting.
Meet Patch, the one-eyed horse.
Last year, Patch developed a tumor in his left eye. It ultimately couldn’t be saved. With the clock ticking on his chance to make a bid for a Triple Crown race, he had to learn with one eye — fast.
“It doesn’t seem to bother him at all,”trainer John Velazquez told CBS2’s Steve Overmyer. “He settled really well. It didn’t change his disposition. When he came back, he came back really well.”
Humans use their eyes in unison and have a vision range of 120-degrees. Horses use their eyes independently, and can see 360-degrees. The loss of his left eye means Patch has to rely on his left ear.
“At least he can hear so he seems to be more comfortable with someone in front of him,” Velazquez said.
For a horse with no left eye, the worst position possible is on the outside. At the Derby Draw on Wednesday, Velazquez found out he’ll be starting from the far outside, yet another disadvantage for Patch to overcome.
No matter the outcome, he’ll be the first one-eyed horse to race in the Belmont Stakes. Three others have raced in the Kentucky Derby, none of which finished higher than 13th.