Rich Strike's 2022 Kentucky Derby win. Jockey Sonny Leon rode Rich Strike to win the 148th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. on May 7, 2022. Derby01 Sam

The first Saturday in May is almost here. That means it’s time to talk about horses. To preview the Kentucky Derby, Awful Announcing caught up with WAVE-TV Sports Director Kendrick Haskins, who will be covering his 18th Derby. 

Haskins revealed his insights on the race and explained how he wound up in a music video with another Louisville native. 

Awful Announcing: What’s the big story for this Derby?

Kendrick Haskins: “The amazing thing is Forte is such a favorite, but I’m not as blown away by Forte as so many people are. Our good buddy Darren Rogers at Churchill Downs is all in on Forte. Usually, when you see a favorite is that much of a favorite, they have these overwhelming victories where they win by three, four, five, six lengths. We don’t see that with him. He’s a great comeback horse. But as far as just dominating the field, we haven’t seen that. That’s what makes it makes it weird to me.”

What was your reaction to the post-position draw?

“Almost everybody got what they wanted. It was funny that Forte was literally the first horse picked and he got 15. He got what he wanted. I think (trainer) Brad Cox was the only person who was probably upset because his horses got the 1 (Hit Show) and the 2 hole (Verifying). The 1 hole is usually the kiss of death in the Derby.”

Who’s your pick for the Derby?

“I like Practical Move. (Trainer) Tim Yakteen says he’s happy to have Reincarnate, adding him to his team. He’s added depth to his bench. He used a lot of basketball analogies we talked to him. But you have to think deep down—he won’t admit it—he would rather win with Practical Move, a horse he’s had from Day One rather than getting the victory with a former Bob Baffert horse to get out from under that Baffert shadow. And I like Practical Move. I think Practical Move has a great shot at winning.”

What is Derby day like for you work-wise?

“Long. It’s not very hard because all the hard work will be done by then. Right now, we’re putting the finishing touches on all of our stories leading up to the Derby, and then Derby Day is just presenting it all. That’s the fun part for us. We get all dressed up in our suits and the ladies have on their outfits. We try to look good for the cameras. We do what we do best, which is presenting everything and trying to have some personality to make it fun for everyone else. But it is a long day.

“I usually get out there probably around 7, 7:30 in the morning, and I won’t leave at around 8:30, 9 Derby night. We’re on until 2:30 when NBC takes over. And while most of our staff gets to leave after that, a few of us don’t. We have to stick around for our post-race. So, we’re out at the track, just having a good time with everybody else. But yeah, we’re just out there enjoying the Kentucky Derby until about 7.”

If someone has never been, why should they attend the Kentucky Derby?

“Because it’s such an event. I heard someone describe it as prom with horses. It’s just fun. It’s something to do with thousands of your closest friends. Everybody is out there having a good time. The mint juleps are flowing, even though personally I like the Lily better on Oaks Day, It’s a fun time at the races, especially when the weather cooperates. You can have fun no matter where you are if you’re in the infield, where all the craziness is going down, or if you’re up in Millionaires Row. There’s always something fun going on.”

Have you run into a lot of celebrities at Derby?

“Not so much at Derby. Usually, I’m on the backside so I use I don’t see much. I did interview David Bakhtiari a couple of years ago at Derby. He was cool. That’s really been about it. Oh, I did find myself walking next to Anna Nicole Smith, God rest her soul, one year while I was walking out of the Derby.”

How did you end up in a Jack Harlow music video?

“He was throwing out the first pitch at a Louisville Bats game, and I was anchoring that night. I went out there and got some shots of him like I normally would. He sees me, comes up, and starts talking to me like we go way back. I’d never met this man. We shoot the breeze, and I interview him that day. Later that night, I get a notification that he’s following me on Twitter. The next morning, he DMs me and says ‘I’m shooting a video this morning. Can you be in it?’ I was like ‘Well, sure!’

“He said ‘Can you wear your sports reporter clothes to the video?’ ‘Sure.’ So, I put on a suit. It was mid to late July in Louisville, so you know how hot it was. Everyone is in tee shirts and shorts, and I’m there in a full suit sweating. And like any other video shoot it’s going on forever. I had to work that day. So, I said ‘Jack, I got go.’

“So he stops production and says ‘We have to shoot this scene.’ We took three takes. We said something different in all three takes. He was being silly, talking about his baby mamas, and Jack doesn’t have any kids. He said that. I turned to the camera and said ‘Shout out to all of Jack’s baby mamas.’ They all laughed, and that made the video.”

About Michael Grant

Born in Jamaica. Grew up in New York City. Lives in Louisville, Ky. Sports writer. Not related to Ulysses S. Grant, Anthony Grant, Amy Grant or Hugh Grant.