My pick for Kentucky’s most intriguing newsmaker

I know the real reason those nice people behind the betting windows at Keeneland always smile when I walk up: I’m no good at handicapping anything.

But this time, I think I’ve picked a winner.

I was asked to handicap the Herald-Leader’s Most Intriguing Kentucky Newsmaker of 2008 contest. I began by ruling out horses, the frog, the tree, the music club and people who could be punch lines for Jay Leno.

I’ve admired the 300-year-old bur oak tree on Harrodsburg Road since childhood. And it’s hard not to appreciate the determination of the filly Eight Belles or the longevity of Jojo the frog. But intriguing? I don’t think so.

I’ve followed the CentrePointe controversy closely, so I thought about going with the tag team of Dudley “back to the ’80s” Webb and Jim “we can do better” Gray.

I’m intrigued by smart people such as Gray, State Auditor Crit Luallen and Alltech founder Pearse Lyons, the Irishman who is one of Kentucky’s true visionaries.

Nancy Jo Kemper gets points for always having the courage of her convictions.

Olympians Elaine Breeden and Tyson Gay made us proud in Beijing.

But the Kentuckian who intrigues me most is Adam Bender, the Lexington boy who hasn’t let a missing leg slow him down, much less stop him. He inspires everyone by just being himself. And I suspect we haven’t seen anything yet.

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