Wellesley, Ont., couple's horse State of Honor to race in Kentucky Derby

Penny and Manfred Conrad of Wellesley, Ont., have a horse in Saturday's Kentucky Derby. Their thoroughbred colt named State of Honor will run for the roses this weekend.

'We’re still so puzzled we’re in the Kentucky Derby'

Penny and Manfred Conrad's horse State of Honor is ranked 11th out of 20 in Saturday's Kentucky Derby. (provided photo)

Penny and Manfred Conrad started raising horses 10 years ago and never thought one would go on to race in the Kentucky Derby.

But, here they are. 

While State of Honor is a long shot to win the Kentucky Derby with jockey Jose Lezcano riding, the Wellesley, Ont., couple are happy their horse ranks eleventh of the 20 best horses competing in Saturday's race.

"When we got into the horse business we thought we would have horses at Woodbine [in Toronto]. Our big dream was to win a race or two," Manfred Conrad told CBC Kitchener-Waterloo's The Morning Edition with Craig Norris.

"We're still so puzzled we're in the Kentucky Derby."

Penny Conrad said she had always been interested in horses and rode them when she was younger. Manfred Conrad credits his wife's passion for horses for getting him to saddle up to the idea

The hobby started with the purchase of two horses grazing on their Wellesley farm. They now have 25.

The couple said they rely on the help of experts to guide them and teach them about horses and horse racing.

"It was my passion, but he's learned an awful lot. It was like learning a foreign language for us [with] all the terminology," Penny said.

"We run down to the track to see our horse, we run down to see our babies. But to get to something like this is unbelieveable."

Penny and Manfred Conrad started raising horses as a hobby 10 years ago. (provided photo)

State of Honor has spent the winter in Florida with trainer Mark Casse. 

The horse goes into Saturday's race – dubbed "the fastest two minutes in sports" – with a total of 62 points from qualifying races. State of Honor will race against stablemate Classic Empire, which some predict will finish in the top three, and which is also trained by Casse.

Brian Zipse of Horse Racing Nation gives State of Honor 30-1 odds of winning the derby.

"He probably holds on for a better placing than where I have him listed, but I just cannot see him winning," Zipse wrote in his derby preview.

The Kentucky Derby runs Saturday at 6:46 p.m.