The Man Who Takes Street Sense for a Walk Paul Rutherford is a key player as Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense goes for the second leg of the Triple Crown in Saturday's Preakness Stakes. Rutherford, a lawyer by trade, serves as the thoroughbred's hotwalker, taking care of him before and after the race.
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The Man Who Takes Street Sense for a Walk

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The Man Who Takes Street Sense for a Walk

The Man Who Takes Street Sense for a Walk

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You're with Street Sense right now, is that right?

PAUL RUTHERFORD: Yes, I am. I'm right outside his stall in the Preakness Stakes barn at Pimlico.

YDSTIE: And what's he doing?

RUTHERFORD: He's sleeping.

YDSTIE: He's sleeping.

RUTHERFORD: He's had his morning workout. He's been what we call done up and set for the day, and he's resting on the left side of his stall now. And that's a very good sign. It means he's relaxed and he feels safe. He's comfortable.

YDSTIE: You do this day in and day out back in Louisville.


YDSTIE: Tell us about a typical morning for a hot walker.

RUTHERFORD: Well, you arrive at the barn usually between 5:00 and 5:30. And the job of the hot walker is to take whatever horse comes in to the barn, and after the horse has been to the track, and hold coats(ph) for the horse's bath or walk the horse for a few minutes after the horse's exercise. And then you also help with some, I guess you'd call, more menial duties - cleaning out some of the feed tubs that the horses have and the water bucket and that kind of thing.

YDSTIE: Tell us about Street Sense. What kind of a horse is he?

RUTHERFORD: The first thing I tell people about him is that he's the most intelligent racehorse I've ever been around. He's very calm, but once he set his mind to something, that's what he wants to do. For example, this morning, he really wanted to go to the racetrack, he saw a few other horses come out before him, and he saw that they had saddles on them. And the moment we started to put his equipment on him, he knew he was going to go to the track and he was a happy camper.

YDSTIE: How would the Preakness morning be special for you?

RUTHERFORD: He's one of 35,000 or so foals born in North America in 2004 who has a chance to win the Triple Crown. And so he's trying to do something historic. And to be able to be around him, just to get a small part of his trying to make history, is a great thrill.

YDSTIE: You actually got to be a part of it when he won the Kentucky Derby. You held the bucket when Calvin Borel washed him down after the derby.

RUTHERFORD: I was bucket boy to the stars, as I told the reporter in Louisville.

YDSTIE: What do you think? Does Street Sense have it in him to win again?

RUTHERFORD: Yeah. I think he definitely does. He knows his job and he loves doing it. He knows that he's a runner. What he's meant to do is go and run. And I think, personally, I think most of the people who worked around him would agree that he looks forward to it.

YDSTIE: Now, you're an attorney in real life. How did you end up doing this at 5:30 a.m. every morning?

RUTHERFORD: What keeps me doing this is that it's the magic thing in my life. Because you're taking care of something besides yourself. You don't find thoroughbreds out on the wild like you go to Wyoming. I mean, thoroughbreds have been, since their beginning, they have been bred by people and they've been cared for by people. So they need people to take care of them.

YDSTIE: Thanks a lot. We'll be watching for you on TV.

RUTHERFORD: Okay. Well, look for the bucket. That will be me.

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