World's fastest man has equine rival -- Usain Colt
Wednesday , July 25, 2012 - 5:27 PM
LONDON — Usain Colt is fast.
The 3-year-old thoroughbred named after the world’s fastest man is being lined up for several races in Britain this summer, and his owners hope Usain Bolt will meet his equine namesake while he is in London for the Olympics.
Trying to schedule an appointment with the three-time Olympic champion is proving difficult, however, with the opening ceremony for London Games only two days away.
Bolt has been training in seclusion on a track at the University of Birmingham, a facility surrounded by thick bushes and patrolled by security.
"Usain Bolt is not the easiest person to get a hold of these days, but I’d like to hope that Usain Colt’s chance to meet him after the Olympics would be boosted if the horse wins a race this summer," said Jake Warren, one of the horse’s handlers.
Warren said Usain Colt deserves his name even though he has only won once — a year ago in Newbury.
"He’s quite a big horse. He’s very athletically built and has lots of character," Warren said. "He’s a laid-back horse with a big personality and has a presence like no other.
"Not other than Bolt, of course."
The horse is owned by Ascot Racecourse. Prince Harry is believed to have joined the Birdcage Racing Club run by Ascot, whose 100 members pay an annual fee and share any prize money earned by Usain Colt. Their aim is to promote the sport amid dwindling interest during the hard economic times.
Bolt is aware of Usain Colt’s existence.
When Prince Harry visited Jamaica earlier this year, he met Bolt and showed him a picture of the thoroughbred. Bolt was quoted as saying that "to have a race horse named after you by someone who owns it like Prince Harry for me is an honor."
"He’s going to do great, takes time, work his way up," Bolt said of the horse.
Like Bolt, Usain Colt has also had problems with his starts in the past year. He was forced out of the Royal Ascot meet, horse racing’s biggest event in Britain, and pulled from a recent race in Ireland because rain made the track too soft for him to run.
Usain Colt returned to the track on Wednesday for a seven-furlong race at Sandown. He finished second in a field of 10.
"He had an amazing sprint at the end, but was held too far back by the jockey in the beginning and ended a length and half behind the winner," Warren said. "We hoped he’d win, but we hope that the good performance on the track will bring some good luck to Bolt’s Olympic 100 race."