Derby Winner Grants Little Girl’s Wish

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) - Hope Hudson sounds like the heroine from an adventure series about a little girl that loves horses.

'My favorite part is when they first get out of the gate and they're off,' says 12-year-old Hope Hudson.

Her partner is her sister with her own super power.

'To save everybody,' says eight year old Alaina Hudson.
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The real-life duo, with mom and dad, got to go to the bluegrass state thanks to the Make-A-Wish foundation.

'There was magic around every turn. I mean, when the phone rang you didn't know who it was or what kind of surprised they had in store,' says Hope`s Mom Jennifer Hudson.

Hope was born with Hajdu-Cheney Syndrome, a rare connective tissue disorder.   The derby trip was Hope`s dream, not her sisters.

'I was a cat fan I'm not a horse fan,' says Alaina Hudson.

But the sisters did get an exclusive look at the stables, even meeting eventual derby winner `I`ll Have Another` and trainer Doug O`Neil.

'When I met Doug he was like I'll slip you a $20 if you'll go for `I'll Have Another` and I was like, `Nah I'll stick with Hansen,` says Hope.

'They made a deal Thursday evening that if Hansen was having a bad day she`d root for 'I'll Have Another,`' says Mom Jennifer.  'If 'I'll Have Another' was having a bad day he would room under his breath for Hansen, just for Hope.

And Hope sprung eternal as the underdog won the 138th Kentucky Derby with the Hansons watching from the stands.

'I think she touched him and I think she brought a little hope or luck to him,' says Dad Nathan.  'There is hope out there.  There is life just look at her.  She`ll bring everything to you.'

'She`s got magnetic personality that's pretty much everybody she meets falls for her smile,' says Jennifer.  'There's just something about her that people can get enough of her.  She's my hero.'

'I smile a lot and pretty much put a smile on other people`s faces,' says Hope smiling at me.  'See.  I made you smile.'

And sometimes that`s what we all need in our life, a smile and some hope for any race you`re running.

Patrick Clark, News 11.