By Dustin Dow, The Cincinnati Enquirer
But the horse didn't have a chance. The human being in the other lane, Chad Johnson, took off with a 100-meter head start and raced to the pole, winning by several lengths in his maiden turf start today.
The estimated crowd of 8,000 at River Downs roared its approval for Johnson, the Bengals wide receiver who said his runaway win would jump start his side career in doing sporting stunts for charity.
"Floyd Mayweather, you're next," Johnson said. "I want to fight you. I'd like to take Kobe and LeBron one-on-one. Jeff Gordon, we can take a couple laps."
Johnson's victory against the horse known as Restore the Roar legitimized the pre-race predictions Johnson made from the paddock.
"Look at him over there," Johnson said pointing to Restore the Roar, dancing about on his way to the track. "This is how DBs feel before the game. He's antsy. He's nervous."
Johnson also had some words for Restore the Roar's jockey, P.J. Cooksey, who rode a horse in 1993 that defeated Bengals receiver Cris Collinsworth in a similar race.
"I read in the newspaper about this being her turf, and her world," Johnson said, about 15 minutes before post time, which was 4:53 p.m. "Now it's my time to take over the race world."
He's got a chance, according to the losing jockey.
"He's quick," Cooksey said. "He's a fast man. That was phenomenal. When I looked over at him, all I could see were his legs; they looked like a windmill. He was a blur. I was beat bad."
Johnson, who mounted a horse after the win and rode it around the winner's circle, suggested he might be back at River Downs later this summer to race another horse, presumably one that's faster than Restore the Roar.
"Street Sense, Curlin," Johnson said. "Whichever one's supposed to be the best horse."