Former MLB player Jayson Werth preparing to be 'a nervous wreck' with horse Dornach set for Kentucky Derby

Jayson Werth played more than 1,500 games in the majors during his 15-year MLB career, but he said that watching a race involving a horse he owns makes him more nervous.

“I never stressed out, I never worried about one game as long as I lived,” Werth said Wednesday during an interview on MLB Network. “Coming into a horse race, it’s like, I’m a nervous wreck.”

Werth, who announced his retirement from MLB in 2018, is preparing for an incredibly nervy Saturday, as the horse that he co-owns, Dornach, will be part of this year’s Kentucky Derby field. The 3-year-old colt, whose brother, Mage, won the Run for the Roses last year, is currently 20-1 to win the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown.

“It’s tough to beat, man. It’s an adrenaline rush like never before,” Werth said. “I compare it really to winning championships, to winning divisions, to winning postseason games. It is the most underrated sport on the planet, bar none.”

Werth got into horse ownership after learning a few years after retiring that horse racing takes place year-round, at various times during the day. A friend he golfed with, Rich Averill, owned horses, and Werth started asking questions about the business.

Jayson Werth's horse, Dornach, is a 20-1 favorite in Saturday's Kentucky Derby. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)Jayson Werth's horse, Dornach, is a 20-1 favorite in Saturday's Kentucky Derby. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

Jayson Werth’s horse, Dornach, is a 20-1 favorite in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

Once Werth learned about the world of horse racing, he was “hooked,” as he told Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post. After initially investing with Averill, Werth partnered with a variety of people, owning shares of up to 30 horses.

Aside from a 10% share of Dornach, Werth is also a 25% owner in Drip, another 3-year-old, who was in line to participate in this year’s Kentucky Derby until he was scratched from a March race.

This isn’t just a hobby for Werth, as he explained. He’s very involved in all aspects of the business, including going to sales and researching bloodlines.

Still new to the sport, Werth understands how fortunate he is to have a horse in such a prestigious race. After many years succeeding in one sport, he’s now trying to achieve success in one completely unknown to him until a few years ago.

“It’s the sport of kings,” Werth said. “People dump millions of dollars every year into horses just to try to get into the Derby. So people are like, ‘Wait. You’ve been doing this for two years, and you’ve already got a horse in the Derby? People do this their whole lives and have never gotten a horse in the Derby.’

“And I’m like, ‘Yeah, I know. I know. It’s not lost on me.’ What we’ve been a part of here is insane.”

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