LOUISVILLE — John Greathouse knew he wanted to give his filly Devil May Care a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
However, the last thing the co-owner of Glencrest Farm wanted was to deny a fellow horseman a shot at greatness themselves.
On Monday, Greathouse announced Devil May Care would be entered in Saturday's Kentucky Derby only, giving her the chance to become just the fourth filly ever to capture the roses.
Greathouse and trainer Todd Pletcher had previously discussed cross-entering the daughter of Malibu Moon in both the Derby and Kentucky Oaks. Since Greathouse was strongly leaning toward the Derby, though, he didn't want to be responsible for keeping another filly out of the Oaks, which is limited to 14 runners.
"My wife told me 'I know where you're going to go so don't hold somebody out,'" Greathouse said. "We didn't want to do that. We're looking for karma. Hopefully the racing gods return the favor on Saturday."
No filly has won the Derby since Winning Colors in 1988. The last female runner to start in the Derby was the ill-fated Eight Belles, who finished second to Big Brown in 2008 before breaking down while galloping out.
Although a Derby victory has eluded Pletcher, he is one of the few who has won a Triple Crown race with a filly. He saddled Rags to Riches to victory in the 2007 Belmont Stakes.
The Derby decision was not made final until Monday, but Pletcher said he began pondering the idea of testing Devil May Care against her male counterparts as far back as August.
"She worked as good as any 2-year-old we had last year at Saratoga," Pletcher recalled. "Specifically, one morning in August I remember she worked from the gate and she galloped out as strongly as any 2-year-old I'd ever had there. At that point, I said 'Wow, this is one talented filly.'"
John Velazquez will be aboard Devil May Care in the Derby. The Eclipse-Award winning jockey had been scheduled to pilot Wood Memorial winner Eskendereya before the colt was declared out of the race Sunday with a left front leg injury.
"I think the thing that put this decision over the top was the availability of John," Pletcher said.