Industry members have a favorite picked out for this weekend’s Kentucky Derby—the horse named Gemologist.
The undefeated thoroughbred is considered a leading contender in the race, which takes place May 5 in Louisville, Ky. Helzberg Diamonds is sponsoring the horse’s jockey, Javier Castellano.
Helzberg spokesman Marty Hurwitz tells JCK that the horse received the unusual moniker through a Facebook contest.
“The way it classically works is, the horse’s name has some relationship to its parentage,” he says. “Crystal Shard was the horse’s mother, and Mr. Prospector was the horse’s mother’s father. So some fan came up with Gemologist and the owner, WinStar Farm, liked that name.”
Helzberg and Castellano have been playing up the association: Castellano has been touring Helzberg stores, and appears on a video on the Helzberg site.
“The name really caused Helzberg to jump on it,” Hurwitz says. But he adds that he hopes the entire industry roots for him, noting that the chances of a horse with such an industry-specific name getting this far are astronomical.
And indeed, other industry members are firmly in Gemologist’s corner.
“A gemologist must know the difference between real and fake stones," says Benn B. Davis, owner of Seng Jewelers in Louisville, Ky. "If the horse is the real thing, he’ll win the race.”
Says Gemological Institute of America spokesman Stephen Morisseau: "We hope he makes his namesake proud and brings home the Derby title. And maybe next year, an extra-lucky horse will be named Graduate Gemologist."
The Twitter-sphere was buzzing with good tidings for Castellano and his steed:
I know who we're rooting for in this year's Kentucky Derby: Gemologist! fb.me/1tjL0DgTG— Litwin Jewelers (@litwins) May 4, 2012