Wiseguy weight off Hence's shoulders in Preakness

BALTIMORE -- Leading up to the Kentucky Derby, Hence was something of a "wise guy" horse, which made his trainer, Steve Asmussen, cringe. The trainer is a big believer in the Mush factor, a reference to Eddie Mush, a racetrack degenerate in the 1993 movie "A Bronx Tale."

Mush -- gullible and colorful but mostly just obnoxious -- was the personification of bad luck at the track. As the legend goes, the real-life Eddie Montanaro got his nickname because everything he touched turned to mush.

"You never want the Mushes on your bandwagon," Asmussen said with a laugh.

Hence was 11th in the Derby -- and with that, many of his backers have abandoned him. He no longer appears to be the Mush horse of the crop.

"It ought to help his chances considerably," said Asmussen, again laughing."