by Jon White
December 5, 2018
Is Maximus Mischief another Smarty Jones?
Smarty Jones won his first two career starts as a 2-year-old in 2003, both at Philadelphia Park, the track now known as Parx Racing. He won those races by 7 3/4 and 15 lengths. Smarty Jones then made it three for three with a victory at Aqueduct. He took the Count Fleet Stakes at the Big A early in 2004 on Jan. 3.
Maximus Mischief won his first two career starts as a 2-year-old in 2018, both at Parx Racing. He won those races 8 3/4 and six lengths. Maximus Mischief then made it three for three with a victory at Aqueduct. He took the Grade II Remsen Stakes at the Big A last Saturday.
After Maximus Mischief’s maiden victory at 5 1/2 furlongs on Sept. 29 at Parx, Dick Jerardi told Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman that this was the best horse from Parx since Smarty Jones. Jerardi knows his stuff. An award-winning turf writer, Jerardi is a member of the team that calculates Beyer Speed Figures.
After the 2003 Count Fleet, Smarty Jones kept his unbeaten record intact by reeling off three consecutive wins at Oaklawn Park. He took the Southwest Stakes, Rebel Stakes and Grade II Arkansas Derby. Smarty Jones then stayed unbeaten by capturing the Grade I Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs and Grade I Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. He finally lost for the first -- and only -- time when thwarted in his bid for a Triple Crown sweep. He finished second, one length behind Birdstone, in the Grade I Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park.
The “Smarty party,” as it became to be known, came to an end after the June 5 Belmont Stakes, which turned out to be the colt’s final race. On Aug. 2, Smarty Jones’ retirement was announced. It was reported that the Kentucky-bred son of Elusive Quality would not race again and go to stud due to chronic bruising of his ankle bones.
Trained by John Servis, Smarty Jones was voted a 2014 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male.
Will Maximus Mischief be like Smarty Jones and go on to win the Kentucky Derby and/or Preakness? As they say, time will tell.
The bad news for Maximus Mischief vis-a-vis the Kentucky Derby is that it’s been a long time since a Remsen winner also has won the Run for the Roses. The last horse to win both races was Thunder Gulch, who took the Remsen in 1994 and Kentucky Derby in 1995.
Catholic Boy this year made it 23 consecutive Remsen winners who did not subsequently succeed in the Kentucky Derby. However, Catholic Boy did have a fine 2018 campaign, highlighted by victories in the Grade I Belmont Derby on the grass and Grade I Travers Stakes on the dirt at Saratoga.
Regardless of what the future holds for Maximus Mischief, he did prove a lot in the Remsen. The bay colt demonstrated that he:
--Can win on a surface other than Parx’s main track.
--Has the class to win at the Grade II level. This was his stakes debut.
--Possesses the stamina to win a 1 1/8-mile contest around two turns. His two races at Parx were going seven furlongs or shorter around one turn.
Ridden by Frankie Pennington and trained by Butch Reid, Maximus Mischief balked at going into the gate for the Remsen, but he then started “beautifully,” as noted by track announcer Frank Mirahmadi.
“For a big horse, he’s light on his feet and springs out of the gate well,” Reid said Monday morning to Steve Byk on his radio program At The Races.
Reid added that the Kentucky-bred colt “is a good athlete.”
After Maximus Mischief’s alert start, he raced on or just off the lead the entire way. The fractions through the first six furlongs were :25.12, :50.67 and 1:14.60. Coming into the stretch, Maximus Mischief found himself battling for command with Tax.
Maximus Mischief put away Tax to have a 2 1/2-length lead at the furlong marker, then kept to his task in the final furlong to prevail by 2 3/4 lengths as the 7-5 second favorite. Network Effect, the betting choice at a bit over even money, came home willingly to finish second in the field of seven. Tax ended up third, a half-length behind Network Effect.
Completing his journey in 1:51.34, Maximus Mischief was credited with a 97 Beyer Speed Figure. It should be noted that whether or not he does come anywhere close to accomplishing what Smarty Jones did at 3, Maximus Mischief’s 97 Beyer in the Remsen is the best figure by a Remsen winner in the last six years.
These are the Beyers for winners of the Remsen going back to 1991:
2018 Maximus Mischief (97)
2017 Catholic Boy (91)
2016 Mo Town (86)
2015 Mohaymen (95)
2014 Leave the Light On (90)
2013 Honor Code (88)
2012 Overanalyze (99)
2011 O’Prado Again (80)
2010 To Honor and Serve (102)
2009 Buddy’s Saint (82)
2008 Old Fashioned (100)
2007 Court Vision (76)
2006 Nobiz Like Shobiz (97)
2005 Bluegrass Cat (95)
2004 Rockport Harbor (102)
2003 Read the Footnotes (105)
2002 Toccet (101)
2001 Saarland (87)
2000 Windsor Castle (92)
1999 Greenwood Lake (91)
1998 Comeonmom (94)
1997 Coronado’s Quest (91)
1996 The Silver Move (91)
1995 Tropicool (94)
1994 Thunder Gulch (89)
1993 Go for Gin (95)
1992 Silver of Silver (96)
1991 Pine Bluff (93)
Following Maximus Mischief’s Remsen victory, he returned to Parx Saturday evening. According to Reid, the colt emerged from the race “perfectly.” In NYRA communications’ Aqueduct notes, Reid said Sunday that Maximus Mischief was a little tired after the race, “but he’s on his toes this morning.”
Reid especially liked Maximus Mischief’s demeanor before the race.
“The most impressive part was how he acted in the paddock and all the prerace stuff,” Reid said, “because he can be a handful in the paddock. In his new surroundings, he handled it very well. He stood perfectly in the paddock, which at Aqueduct can be a little foreboding. He handled it great and was cool as a cucumber. He stood there perfectly when we put the tack on him. I was pretty confident with the way things were going after that.”
Whereas Smarty Jones went the Arkansas route to the Kentucky Derby, Maximus Mischief is scheduled to race probably twice at Gulfstream Park prior to the big race at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May.
“We’re going to give him a little break, but then we’ll be heading down to Florida in the next few weeks,” Reid said. “We’ll get him used to the weather down there and get him ready to start his 3-year-old campaign.”
Reid told the DRF’s David Grening that the plan is for Maximus Mischief to likely run in either the Grade II Holy Bull Stakes Feb. 2 or Grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes on March 2 prior to the Grade I Florida Derby on March 30.
A REMSEN WIN MAKES 26-1 PRICE LOOK GOOD
Despite the Kentucky Derby drought by Remsen winners, those who bet on Maximus Mischief at 26-1 in Pool One of the 2019 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) on Nov. 25 no doubt were pleased to see the colt run so well last Saturday.
Here were the final odds for Pool One of the 2019 KDFW:
6-5 All Other 3-Year-Old Males
5-1 Game Winner
18-1 Code of Honor
26-1 Maximus Mischief
43-1 Magic On Tap
44-1 Knicks Go
46-1 Tale of the Union
47-1 Mucho Gusto
53-1 King for a Day
53-1 Uncle Benny
59-1 Cairo Cat
59-1 Network Effect
66-1 All 3-Year-Old Fillies
76-1 Gunmetal Gray
88-1 Epic Dreamer
Meanwhile, another consequence of Maximus Mischief’s Remsen triumph is it likely brought a smile to those who bet on his sire at 7-1 in the 2019 Kentucky Derby Sire Future Wager. Maximus Mischief is by Into Mischief.
Into Mischief also is the sire of Instagrand, who won both of his starts impressively during the summer in Southern California. He cruised to a 10-length victory in a five-furlong maiden special weight race at Los Alamitos on June 29 in his debut. He then won Del Mar’s Grade II Best Pal Stakes by 10 1/4 lengths at six furlongs on Aug. 11.
After the Best Pal, it was decided that Instagrand would not race again in 2018. He was sent to Kentucky to take it easy for the rest of the year. The Kentucky-bred Into Mischief colt, who sold for $1.2 million at public auction last March, now is back in training with Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer at Santa Anita.
When Justify took the 2018 Kentucky Derby as the favorite, he paid $7.80 for a $2 win ticket. Justify returned just $4.40 as part of the “All Other 3-Year-Olds” option in Pool One of the 2018 KDFW. But a bet on Justify’s sire, Scat Daddy, paid $54.80 in the Kentucky Derby Sire Future Wager.
Here were the final odds on Nov. 25 for the 2019 Kentucky Derby Sire Future Wager:
9-2 All Other Sires
7-1 Candy Ride
7-1 Into Mischief
17-1 City Zip
20-1 Quality Road
21-1 Medaglia d’Oro
23-1 Uncle Mo
24-1 Pioneerof the Nile
27-1 Scat Daddy
29-1 Union Rags
30-1 Cairo Prince
40-1 Will Take Charge
41-1 War Front
47-1 Giant’s Causeway
48-1 More Than Ready
49-1 Malibu Moon
Tapit is the sire of Coliseum and Magic On Tap, a pair of youngsters trained by Bob Baffert.
Coliseum raised eyebrows when he won a seven-furlong maiden special weight race by 6 3/4 lengths on Nov. 17 at Del Mar in his only start so far. He had a splendid workout Tuesday morning at Santa Anita, a bullet four furlongs in :47.00, fastest of 82 at the distance.
Magic On Tap won a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race by 2 1/2 lengths on Sept. 1 at Del Mar. That has been his lone start to date.
Candy Ride is the sire of undefeated Game Winner. Also conditioned by Baffert, Game Winner is a three-time Grade I winner this year (Del Mar Futurity, American Pharoah Stakes at Santa Anita, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs). Game Winner is odds-on to be voted a 2018 Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male.
Vekoma, two for two, is another prominent Candy Ride colt. He won Aqueduct’s Grade III Nashua Stakes by 1 3/4 lengths at one mile on Nov. 4 for trainer George Weaver. The runner-up in the Nashua was Network Effect, who then also finished second in last Saturday’s Remsen.
BAFFERT DUO TOPS LOS AL CASHCALL FUTURITY
Hall of Famer Baffert appears to have an excellent chance to win yet another Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity this Saturday. He sends out Improbable, who is two for two, and Mucho Gusto, likewise two for two, in the Grade I race that will be contested at 1 1/16 miles.
Improbable, a Kentucky-bred City Zip colt, is coming off a sparkling 7 1/4-length win in the one-mile Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs on Nov. 7. He recorded a sharp workout Monday at Santa Anita, five furlongs in a bullet :59.80, fastest of 67 at the distance.
Mucho Gusto, a Kentucky-bred Mucho Macho Man colt, recently won Del Mar’s seven-furlong Bob Hope Stakes by 1 1/2 lengths on Nov. 17.
The Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity, formerly the Hollywood Futurity, was run at Hollywood Park from 1981 through 2013. Baffert has won this race a record 10 times, including all editions at Los Alamitos from 2014 through 2017.
Here is the list of Baffert’s 10 Los Al Futurity winners:
1997 Real Quiet
1999 Captain Steve
2000 Point Given
2008 Pioneerof the Nile
2009 Lookin At Lucky
2015 Mor Spirit
I will be surprised if someone other than Improbable wins Saturday.
It is a Preakness Stakes tradition that when the horses come onto the track for the post parade, the folks on hand at Pimlico Race Course are invited to sing “Maryland, My Maryland,” the official state song. It’s also a Preakness tradition that after the 1 3/16-mile race is declared official, the colors of the victorious owner’s silks are painted on a weather vane. I’ve developed a Preakness tradition of my own. When the time comes to try and forecast the winner, I begin by tossing out any entrant who did not run in the Kentucky Derby. That’s because there is a very good chance that the Preakness winner will be someone who started in the 1 1/4-mile Derby at Churchill Downs. Only four of the last 35 Preakness winners (Red Bullet in 2000, Bernardini in 2006, Rachel Alexandra in 2009 and Cloud Computing in 2017) did not run in the Derby. This will be the first time since 1951 that none of the first four finishers across the finish line in the Kentucky Derby (Maximum Security, Country House, Code of Honor and Tacitis) are running in the Preakness. The only four Kentucky Derby alums among the 13 horses entered in this Saturday’s 154th running of the Grade I Preakness are Improbable, War of Will, Win Win Win and Bodexpress. Improbable is the 5-2 favorite on Pimlico oddsmaker Keith Feustle’s Preakness morning line. War of Will is next at 4-1. As for the other two Derby starters entered in the Preakness, Win Win Win is 15-1 and Bodexpress is 20-1. These are my Preakness selections: 1. War of Will (4-1 morning line) 2. Improbable (5-2) 3. Alwaysmining (8-1) 4. Owendale (10-1) Here is a look at the most recent race for the last 40 Preakness winners: 2018 Justify (WON THE KENTUCKY DERBY) 2017 Cloud Computing (3rd in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct) 2016 Exaggerator (2nd in the Kentucky Derby) 2015 American Pharoah (WON THE KENTUCKY DERBY) 2014 California Chrome (WON THE KENTUCKY DERBY) 2013 Oxbow (6th in the Kentucky Derby) 2012 I’ll Have Another (WON THE KENTUCKY DERBY) 2011 Shackleford (4th in the Kentucky Derby) 2010 Lookin At Lucky (6th in the Kentucky Derby) 2009 Rachel Alexandra (WON THE KENTUCKY OAKS) 2008 Big Brown (WON THE KENTUCKY DERBY) 2007 Curlin (3rd in the Kentucky Derby) 2006 Bernardini (won the Withers at Aqueduct) 2005 Afleet Alex (3rd in the Kentucky Derby) 2004 Smarty Jones (WON THE KENTUCKY DERBY) 2003 Funny Cide (WON THE KENTUCKY DERBY) 2002 War Emblem (WON THE KENTUCKY DERBY) 2001 Point Given (5th in the Kentucky Derby) 2000 Red Bullet (2nd in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct) 1999 Charismatic (WON THE KENTUCKY DERBY) 1998 Real Quiet (WON THE KENTUCKY DERBY) 1997 Silver Charm (WON THE KENTUCKY DERBY) 1996 Louis Quatorze (16th in the Kentucky Derby) 1995 Timber Country (3rd in the Kentucky Derby) 1994 Tabasco Cat (6th in the Kentucky Derby) 1993 Prairie Bayou (2nd in the Kentucky Derby) 1992 Pine Bluff (5th in the Kentucky Derby) 1991 Hansel (10th in the Kentucky Derby) 1990 Summer Squall (2nd in the Kentucky Derby) 1989 Sunday Silence (WON THE KENTUCKY DERBY) 1988 Risen Star (3rd in the Kentucky Derby) 1987 Alysheba (WON THE KENTUCKY DERBY) 1986 Snow Chief (11th in the Kentucky Derby) 1985 Tank’s Prospect (7th in the Kentucky Derby) 1984 Gate Dancer (DQ’d to 5th from 4th in the Kentucky Derby) 1983 Deputed Testamony (won the Keystone Stakes at Keystone) 1982 Aloma’s Ruler (won the Withers Stakes at Aqueduct) 1981 Pleasant Colony (WON THE KENTUCKY DERBY) 1980 Codex (won the Hollywood Derby at Hollywood Park) 1979 Spectacular Bid (WON THE KENTUCKY DERBY) 1978 Affirmed (WON THE KENTUCKY DERBY) 1977 Seattle Slew (WON THE KENTUCKY DERBY) 1976 Elocutionist (3rd in the Kentucky Derby) 1975 Master Derby (won the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland) 1974 Little Current (5th in the Kentucky Derby) 1973 Secretariat (WON THE KENTUCKY DERBY) 1972 Bee Bee Bee (won the Survivor Stakes at Pimlico) 1971 Canonero II (WON THE KENTUCKY DERBY) 1970 Personality (8th in the Kentucky Derby) 1969 Majestic Prince (WON THE KENTUCKY DERBY) WAR OF WILL’S DERBY MISFORTUNE My guess is you probably are aware that War of Will did not have the best of trips in the Kentucky Derby. To begin with, he was rank while full of run when boxed in behind pacesetting Maximum Security on the first turn and early on the backstretch. War of Will and jockey Tyler Gaffalione remained bottled up until shortly after leaving the three-eighths pole on the far turn. Gaffalione angled out at that point, appearing to make contact with Long Range Toddy. Shortly after War of Will moved out from the inside rail, Maximum Security still was in front. Just when it appeared War of Will was going to take on the leader, Maximum Security veered out sharply. In the unanimous opinion of the stewards, when Maximum Security veered out sharply, he caused interference to War of Will, Bodexpress and Long Range Toddy. Maximum Security would go on to reach the finish line 1 3/4 lengths in front. War of Will’s trainer, Mark Casse, and Gaffalione discussed a possible claim of foul immediately after the race. They decided not to lodge an objection against Maximum Security. Casse later explained that the thinking at the time was War of Will finished eighth, which meant he would only get moved up to seventh even if the claim of foul was allowed. According to Casse, if War of Will possibly could been moved up to fifth to get a piece of the $3 million purse, an objection definitely would have been lodged. Flavian Prat and Jon Court did lodge objections for alleged interference approaching the five-sixteenth pole. Prat rode Country House, who finished second. Court rode Long Range Toddy, who finished 17th. The stewards deliberated for 22 minutes, then it was announced that they had decided to disqualify Maximum Security and place him 17th. Maximum Security was placed below Long Range Toddy, who in the judgment of the stewards was the horse to finish the lowest of those interfered with nearing the five-sixteenths pole. It was the first time in the 145-year history of the Kentucky Derby that a winner had been disqualified for an incident during the running of the race. Ever since Maximum Security’s disqualification, debate has raged as to whether or not it was the correct call. In my opinion, the disqualification of Maximum Security was warranted. However, many others, including Andrew Beyer, have expressed their disagreement with the DQ. “NBC’s slow-motion coverage showed Maximum Security moving in front of War of Will, forcing Tyler Gaffalione to steady his mount,” Beyer wrote for Daily Racing Form. “This was a foul -- no doubt about it. The incident could have resulted in a bad accident -- but it didn’t. It probably cost War of Will a length, but he recovered quickly. He had a clear path ahead of him and a quarter of a mile in which to catch Maximum Security, and he drew within a length of the leader, but he faded badly at the end and finished eighth. He never was going to win the Derby, or even finish in the money.” Beyer actually contradicts himself by saying the incident “probably cost War of Will a length” but War of Will “never was going to win the Derby, or even finish in the money.” Let’s assume Beyer is correct in his assumption that the incident “probably cost War of Will a length.” If that’s true, then it is reasonable to infer that the incident probably did cost War of Will from finishing in the money -- i.e., fifth or higher. Of the $3 million Kentucky Derby purse, the winner receives $1,860,000, with $600,000 going to second, $300,000 to third, $150,000 to fourth and $90,000 to fifth. War of Will was beaten less than a length for fifth. If the incident probably cost War of Will “a length,” as Beyer believes, then the incident also probably cost War of Will from finishing fifth and receiving a $90,000 check. Consider what the DRF’s Mike Watchmaker wrote this week. “War of Will wound up being beaten only two lengths by the Derby’s third-place finisher, and to say that Maximum Security gave him at least two lengths worth of trouble would be an exercise in massive understatement.” Watchmaker therefore seemingly believes that Maximum Security cost War of Will the opportunity to possibly finish third and collect $300,000. The way I saw it, War of Will was not going to beat Maximum Security. I agree with Beyer and many others on that. However, I also think that when Maximum Security committed a foul by impeding War of Will, it denied War of Will the opportunity to finish at least fifth and perhaps even higher. Maximum Security ran a terrific race. He went fast early, slow in the middle portion, then fast late. Not many horses can do that. When Maximum Security slowed down the pace during the middle part of the Derby, it played a major role as to why the field became so bunched on the far turn. The clocking for each quarter was :22.31, :24.31, :25.88, :26.13, :25.30. WAR OF WILL MIGHT RUN A BIGGIE IN PREAKNESS One of the reasons War of Will is my choice to win the Preakness is he had a right to weaken a bit late in the Kentucky Derby inasmuch as it was his first race in six weeks and first meaningful race in 11 weeks. He most assuredly did not get much out of the Louisiana Derby on March 23, a race in which he finished ninth after abruptly taking an awkward step behind in the initial strides. According to Casse, War of Will emerged from the Louisiana Derby with a strained patellar ligament. But the colt recovered from that setback and trained splendidly up to the May 4 Kentucky Derby. And now, with that May 4 race under his belt, War of Will just might be primed to run a biggie this Saturday. On the other hand, there is the possibility that the rough Kentucky Derby took a mental and/or physical toll on War of Will. If that’s the case, I almost certainly am barking up the wrong tree by pick him to win the Preakness. I also had some concern when I learned this week that War of Will had a foot issue three days after the Kentucky Derby. Casse said that on the morning of May 7, “we thought he had a fair amount of heat in his [right front] foot and a pulse and he was a little tender on it. We pulled the shoe right away, soaked his foot and put the shoe back on. He hasn’t missed a beat since…That’s not an issue [for the Preakness].” Additionally, after War of Will had to deal with the dreaded inside post position in the Kentucky Derby, I was not thrilled to see him again get post 1 for the Preakness. But at least it’s not as if there has been a long drought from post 1. American Pharoah broke from post 1 and won the Preakness in 2015 en route to a Triple Crown sweep. A Preakness victory by Improbable is quite possible. He found himself racing in heavy traffic and bottled up through the early stages of the Kentucky Derby as the 4-1 favorite. Improbable did not have any kick in the lane and finished fifth before being moved up to fourth through the disqualification of Maximum Security. I have the impression that Improbable did not particularly like the sloppy track at Churchill despite having run quite well on a sloppy surface at Oaklawn Park when he was the runner-up to Omaha Beach in the Arkansas Derby. Improbable recorded a 99 Beyer Speed Figure in the Arkansas Derby, a 96 in the Kentucky Derby. Remarkably, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has never lost the Preakness with any of his five Kentucky Derby winners (Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998, War Emblem in 2002, American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018). But Baffert is not running a Kentucky Derby winner in the Preakness this year. Baffert also has managed to win the Preakness twice with horses who did not win the Kentucky Derby (Point Given in 2001 and Lookin At Lucky in 2010). If Improbable does get the job done this Saturday, Baffert will break the record for most Preakness wins by a trainer. Baffert and Robert Wyndham Walden currently share the record with seven Preakness victories each. All seven of Walden’s Preakness wins came in the 1880s (Tom Ochiltree in 1875, Duke of Magenta in 1878, Harold in 1879, Grenada in 1880, Saunterer in 1881, Vanguard in 1882 and Refund in 1888). Baffert has a theory as to why he has had so much success running a horse in the Preakness just two weeks after the Kentucky Derby. He believes one of the reasons is what he usually had to do when running horses in futurities and derbies back during his Quarter Horse days. During Baffert’s time as a Quarter Horse conditioner, qualifying time trials generally would be held one week prior to a futurity or derby. Baffert learned to deal with what he called “the quick turnaround in the Quarter Horse world” by having a horse “run well enough” to qualify for the futurity or derby, but “not too well.” The goal was for the horse to come back a week after the trial and be able to take a serious run at winning the futurity or derby. OTHER PREAKNESS ENTRANTS TO RESPECT Beyond War of Will and Improbable, I would not be surprised if Alwaysmining, Owendale, Anothertwistafate, Bourbon War and/or Win Win Win have a big say in Saturday’s big race in Baltimore. Alwaysmining has reeled off six straight victories at Laurel. In his most recent start, he sat just off the early pace and then annihilated his foes to win the Federico Tesio Stakes by 11 1/2 lengths on April 20. He recorded a 92 Beyer Speed Figure in that race after posting a 96 when he won the Private Terms Stakes by 6 3/4 lengths on March 16. Those Beyers give him a license to do well Saturday. He’s trying to become the first Maryland-bred to win the Preakness since Deputed Testamony in 1983. He would be the first gelding to win the Preakness since Funny Cide in 2003. I was impressed by Owendale’s triumph in the Grade III Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 13. As far back as ninth early, he zoomed past rivals on the far turn. After sporting a two-length lead at the eighth pole, he won by 1 3/4 lengths. Again from a Beyer Speed Figure perspective, by recording a 98 in the Lexington, Owendale should be taken very seriously in the Preakness. Anothertwistafate was on my Kentucky Derby Top 10 for many weeks until it looked like he would not have sufficient points to get into the race. He has finished first or second in all five of his starts around two turns. Anothertwistafate has put together Beyer Speed Figures of 94, 94 and 95 going into the Preakness. That puts him right in the mix. Scat Daddy is the sire of Anothertwistafate. Justify, also a son of Scat Daddy, won the Preakness last year while on his way to sweeping the Triple Crown. While I am not all that keen on Bourbon War as a candidate to win the Preakness, as a lot of people seem to be, I recognize that he certainly could hit the board Saturday. When he finished fourth in the Grade I Florida Derby on March 30, his chances were compromised by a slow pace. That slow Florida Derby pace was set by the victorious Maximum Security, who subsequently finished first in the Kentucky Derby. Drawing post 13 for the Preakness did not do Win Win Win any favors. I just have a feeling that he is going to pop up and do what his name says in an important race one of these days. THORO-GRAPH’S KENTUCKY DERBY FIGS While I do concur with those of the opinion that nobody was going to beat Maximum Security in the Kentucky Derby, I can’t help but find the post-race Thoro-Graph figures to be very interesting. They tell a different story. I have stated many times that I believe Beyer Speed Figures do have value (which is why I often list them). But I consider the Thoro-Graph figures to be vastly superior. In terms of the Beyers, the winner of a race will never get a smaller figure than the horse who finished second, the horse who finished second will never get a smaller figure than the horse who finished third, and so on and so forth down through the order of finish. Thoro-Graph figures take many more factors (feet traveled, weight, etc.) into account than the Beyers. In the case of the Thoro-Graph Figures, a horse who finishes second, or even lower, can get a better figure than the winner. This really is a much more realistic evaluation of a horse’s performance. According to Thoro-Graph, Maximum Security did not run the best race in the Kentucky Derby. In fact, according to Thoro-Graph, three horses ran a better race than Maximum Security. The higher a figure is, the better it is, when it comes to Beyers. The opposite is true for Thoro-Graph figures. Below were the 10 best Beyers in this year’s Kentucky Derby, followed by the 10 best Thoro-Graph figures: Beyer Horse 101 Maximum Security 99 Country House 97 Code of Honor 96 Tacitus 96 Improbable 96 Game Winner 96 Master Fencer 95 War of Will 94 Plus Que Parfait 89 Win Win Win T-G Fig Horse 1/4 Game Winner 1/2 Country House 1 Tacitus 1 1/4 Maximum Security 2 1/4 Master Fencer 2 1/2 Improbable 2 3/4 Code of Honor 3 1/4 Cutting Humor 3 1/2 War of Will 3 3/4 Plus Que Parfait PREAKNESS HAS NOTABLE ABSENTEES If Omaha Beach had run in the Kentucky Derby, I believe there’s a good chance that he would have won it. I don’t think the sloppy track would have stopped him. It probably would have helped him. He was two for two on sloppy tracks. But the 4-1 morning-line favorite was scratched from the Derby due to an entrapped epiglottis. Had Omaha Beach won the Kentucky Derby, I believe he would have been extremely tough to beat in the Preakness. He certainly would have been my pick to win it. I think he might have taken a very serious run at becoming the third Triple Crown winner in this decade. With Omaha Beach out of the picture, if Maximum Security had been entered in the Preakness, he definitely would have been my pick to win. But instead of running in the Preakness, Maximum Security is scheduled to make a public appearance this Saturday at Monmouth Park. He will be brought over to the paddock before the fifth race. Also conspicuous by his absence in this Saturday’s Preakness is Country House, the official winner of the 2019 Kentucky Derby. Three days after the Run for the Roses, Country House “developed a little bit of a cough,” his trainer, Bill Mott, revealed to Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman. Mott added that with Country House acting like he was going to get sick, he would not be running in the Preakness. As for Maximum Security, his trainer, Jason Servis, said he has been “amazed” by the outpouring of support for the colt following his Kentucky Derby disqualification. Many cards and letters and lots of flowers (most notably roses) have been sent to Maximum Security at Monmouth. “I don’t know what it is, if it’s the disqualification and people feel he was treated unfairly, but he seems to have touched a lot of people,” Servis was quoted as saying in a Monmouth press release announcing the colt’s appearance between races Saturday. “You never know when or why a horse will touch people the way he has. I’m amazed at all the cards and flowers people have sent. It’s a neat thing to see.” The DRF’s David Grening reports that, according to Servis, Monmouth’s Pegasus Stakes on June 16 is under consideration for Maximum Security as a possible springboard to the Grade I Haskell Invitational there on July 20. WESTS FILE FEDERAL LAWSUIT OVER DQ As expected by many, Maximum Security’s owners, Gary and Mary West, have filed a lawsuit in federal court in an attempt to overturn the decision to disqualify Maximum Security in the Kentucky Derby. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Wests filed suit on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Frankfort, Ky. The Wests are suing the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) and its members, staff and the stewards who disqualified Maximum Security. The lawsuit alleges that the disqualification process was “bizarre and unconstitutional.” It seeks to have the stewards’ decision reversed and the original order of finish reinstated “confirming that Maximum Security is the official winner of the Derby who remains undefeated.” The lawsuit claims that “as a result of the disqualification, plaintiffs, the trainer and jockey (Luis Saez) of Maximim Security were denied any part of the $1,860,000 share of the Derby purse as well as a professional accomplishment that any horseman would cherish for life, plus very substantial value that a Kentucky Derby winner has a stallion.” The Wests originally had appealed Maximum Security’s disqualification to the KHRC. However, according to a KHRC rule, “stewards’ finding of fact and rulings on matters occurring and incident to the running of the race shall be final and not subject to appeal.” Citing that rule, the Wests’ appeal was summarily denied by the KHRC. The KHRC’s general counsel, John L. Forgy, sent a letter to representatives of the Wests to inform the owners of Maximum Security that their appeal had been denied. “Because stewards’ disqualification determination is not subject to appeal and for the reasons set forth below, your request for appeal is denied,” the letter from Forgy said, according to a BloodHorse story written by Frank Angst. “Consequently, your request for stay pending appeal is moot because the law does not provide for an appeal.” Angst added that the appeal denial letter also noted that as a license condition for racing in Kentucky, every licensee agrees to abide by the KHRC’s rules and regulations. According to the Herald-Leader, the Wests’ lawsuit alleges that the lack of an appeals process for the stewards’ ruling denies Maximum Security’s owners their due process rights. The owners also claim that the stewards’ decision to disqualify Maximum Security was not supported by “substantial evidence on the whole record.” The way I see it, there is substantial video evidence to support the stewards’ decision to disqualify Maximum Security. However, the part of the Wests’ lawsuit that might conceivably have merit is their claim that they have been denied due process by virtue of the KHRC rule stating that a stewards’ disqualification “for matters occurring and incident to the running of the race shall be final and not subject to appeal.” Personally, I think that KHRC rule is a good one. It is my belief that after the stewards have made their call as to whether or not disqualify a horse for an incident during a race, it is then in the best interest of racing to move on without any appeals. As I have said many times, when someone can appeal a stewards’ decision to disqualify or not disqualify a horse for an incident during the running of a race, the appeal typically goes before a hearing officer or commissioners who do not have anywhere close to as much videotape expertise as stewards do in terms of analyzing what has occurred during a race. If the KHRC rule stating that the stewards’ disqualification determination is not subject to appeal -- or any similarly worded rule in another state – has ever been challenged on constitutional grounds, I am not aware of it. Due to the fundamental unfairness stemming from the finality that is specified in the KHRC rule that a disqualification “shall be final and not subject to appeal,” I don’t think it’s out of the question that KHRC rule could be declared unconstitutional by a federal judge. If that KHRC rule were to be deemed to be unconstitutional, I don’t believe that, in itself, would cause a federal judge to rule that the original order of finish in the Kentucky Derby be reinstated. However, if that particular KHRC rule was declared to be unconstitutional, I could envision the case possibly being sent back to the KHRC for the purpose of the racing commission being mandated to hear the appeal. Of course, under those circumstances, the odds of the KHRC upholding the Wests’ appeal would be tremendously bigger than even Country House’s 65-1 odds in the Kentucky Derby. And if the KHRC, as expected, did not rule in favor of the Wests in their appeal, it most likely would send the owners back into federal court to continue their attempt to have the stewards’ decision to disqualify Maximum Security overturned. SAEZ RECEIVES 15-DAY SUSPENSION While I regard the stewards’ decision to disqualify Maximum Security in the Kentucky Derby as being correct, I strongly disagree with their ruling to suspend the colt’s jockey, Luis Saez, for 15 days “for failure to control his mount and make the proper effort to maintain a straight course thereby causing interference with several rivals that resulted in the disqualification of his mount.” The stewards’ ruling calls for Saez to be suspended from May 23-27 and from June 6-9, plus on June 13 and 14. In my view, the 15-day penalty is egregious, punitive and ridiculous. From what I have seen on the videotape, I do not believe Saez was reckless or careless. Maximum Security appeared to get spooked from something, be it from the crowd noise, reflection of light on the wet track or something in the infield. After Maximum Security veered out sharply from whatever evidently spooked him, Saez quickly guided Maximum Security back down toward the inside rail. When Saez took Maximum Security back down toward the inside rail, it did appear Maximum Security nearly make contact with Code of Honor. Perhaps those two even did make light contact. Code of Honor had slipped through along the inner rail into the clear path that materialized when Maximum Security veered out sharply. I don’t think Maximum Security bothered Code of Honor nearing the top of the stretch. But it appeared to me that Maximum Security did come close to doing so. The harshest sanction for Saez’s ride that I would consider not to be excessive would be a five-day suspension. A three-day suspension would be even more appropriate. But from the numerous times I have viewed the videotape, I honestly don’t think Saez deserved to be suspended at all for his ride. Maximum Security, in my opinion, was at fault, not Saez. This was not a case of “rider error.” Saez’s attorney, Ann Oldfather, reportedly plans to file an appeal of the 15-day suspension to the KHRC on behalf of her client. An appeal of a jockey’s suspension is permitted by the KHRC rules. RACING MOURNS THE DEATH OF TIM CONWAY Tim Conway, referred to as a comic genius by many and a longtime supporter of horse racing, died Tuesday morning in Los Angeles. He was 85. In the Los Angeles Times’ obituary, Conway’s representative, Howard Bragman, said the comedian died in a long-term-care facility after suffering complications of hydrocephalus. Conway, Bragman said, also had dementia. My late father became a big Tim Conway fan when watching him on “McHale’s Navy” on the black and white television in our living room. During Conway’s career, he won six Emmy Awards, four of them for his work on “The Carol Burnett Show.” He also starred in a number of movies. Conway was a devout racing fan. He even raced a few horses through the years. In the 1980s, he appeared a number of times as the hapless jockey Lyle Dorf on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson. In what probably was Conway’s most significant contribution to horse racing, he helped launch the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund in 1987. It provided financial aid and assistance to injured jockeys and exercise riders. Conway had a soft spot in his heart for those who rode racehorses in the mornings and afternoons. In his youth, Conway exercised Thoroughbreds for a time in his native Ohio. The Don MacBeth Fund assisted more than 2,000 riders before ceasing operations at the end of 2011. The Turf Publicists of America honored Conway with the Big Sport of Turfdom Award in 1989. I crossed paths with Conway on a number of occasions through the years. He was always friendly…and, of course, always funny. As example of Conway’s sense of humor, in the BloodHorse’s obit, Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron recalled the only two words on the back of Conway’s silks: No Passing. TRAINER DON WARREN PASSES AWAY There also was sad news for many members of the racing fraternity when the Santa Anita publicity department announced last Friday that retired trainer Don Warren had died early Thursday after having been in declining health in recent years. He was 67. Born in Covina, Calif., Warren began his training career in 1974. He trained for the Johnston family’s Old English Rancho until his retirement in 2015. He was not the only person in his family involved in racing. His brother, Ron Warren Jr., is a retired jockey who has worked as a racing official for the California Horse Racing Board. Warren trained Acclamation, who was victorious in 11 of 30 lifetime starts and earned $1,958,048. Acclamation won six Grade I races, including the 2011 Pacific Classic at Del Mar. He was voted a 2011 Eclipse Award as champion older male. I visited Warren at his barn many times in the 1980s during my years as a reporter/columnist for the Daily Racing Form. I always enjoyed my morning chats with Warren. THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLLS Here is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 403 Bricks and Mortar (29) 2. 333 McKinzie (5) 3. 274 Gift Box (3) 4. 229 Midnight Bisou 5. 212 Mitole 6. 197 World of Trouble 7. 140 Monomoy Girl (3) 8. 99 Roy H 9. 85 Thunder Snow (1) 10 69 City of Light (1) Here is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top 3-Year-Old Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 412 Maximum Security (28) 2. 366 Omaha Beach (13) 3. 320 Country House (2) 4. 270 Code of Honor 5. 260 Tacitus 6. 193 Improbable 7. 166 Game Winner 8. 142 War of Will 9. 68 Serengeti Empress 10. 40 Roadster
There is no question that the 2019 Kentucky Derby is going to be discussed and debated for a very long time. I had hoped this week to be writing about Omaha Beach heading to the Preakness Stakes following his victory in the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby. But after Omaha Beach had been installed as the 4-1 morning-line favorite, he was scratched from the Run for the Roses due to an entrapped epiglottis. Instead of participating in last Saturday’s $3 million Kentucky Derby, Omaha Beach underwent surgery Friday. Dr. Rolf Embertson performed the operation at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky. Omaha Beach, who currently is at WinStar Farm in Kentucky, could return to Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella’s Santa Anita barn as soon as this weekend, according to Daily Racing Form’s Steve Andersen. With Omaha Beach out of the Kentucky Derby, I had to call a last-minute audible in terms of my pick to win. I decided to go with War of Will. As far as Maximum Security was concerned, I wrote last week that “I could see him either winning or finishing way back.” Little did I know that he would do both. Maximum Security was the only horse in this year’s Kentucky Derby to have recorded Beyer Speed Figures of 100 or higher, something he had done twice. “How good is Maximum Security?” I wrote. “We really don’t know. What if he’s a freak? His average margin of victory in four career starts is 9 1/2 lengths! Considering he has an unblemished record and sports the only two triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures in the field, if Maximum Security does outrun them all on Saturday, I am going to feel pretty dumb for not picking him to win.” When Maximum Security reached the finish line 1 3/4 lengths in front with an ecstatic Luis Saez in the saddle, I did indeed feel pretty dumb for not picking him to win. But shortly after the race was over, the objection sign was posted. Flavian Prat, the rider of Country House, who had finished second, claimed foul against Maximum Security, alleging interference nearing the five-sixteenths pole. The inquiry sign was never posted. Because War of Will had been my pick to win, I focused on him while watching the race as it was being run. As I observed the Derby runners going into the far turn, I could see that War of Will, with Tyler Gafflione aboard, was bottled up along the inside rail while full of run when racing directly behind the leading Maximum Security. I was hoping that Gaffalione somehow would find a way to extricate War of Will from being boxed in, especially since it appeared the colt was so full of run. I had hoped that War of Will might be able to slip through between Maximum Security and the inside rail. But as they made their way around the far turn, no hole between Maximum Security and the rail ever opened. Shortly after passing the three-eighths pole on the bend, Gaffalione finally did angle War of Will outward to get to the outside of Maximum Security. But then an incident occurred that turned this 145th running of the Kentucky Derby into one of the most controversial races in the history of the sport. While leading the way on the far turn, Maximum Security suddenly veered out sharply approaching the five-sixteenths pole. “Veered out sharply” is what’s stated in the official Equibase chart. After the race, Saez said Maximum Security had “shied away from the noise of the crowd.” Perhaps Maximum Security reacted from something like shiny light reflecting off the wet track or from something or someone in the infield. Whatever the reason, the point is Maximum Security did leave his path or lane. When Maximum Security veered out sharply nearing the five-sixteenths pole, he impeded War of Will, who very nearly clipped heels. In racing parlance, War of Will almost got dropped. In a chain reaction triggered by Maximum Security when he veered out sharply, Long Range Toddy and Master Fencer also were impacted. Flavian Prat, who rode Country House, said afterward that he felt his mount, as a consequence of Maximum Security veering out, was pushed sideways, as he described it. I am unable to see that in many viewings of the videotape replay. I saw it more like how the Equibase chart puts it, that Country House “was brushed by Long Range Toddy while largely unaffected by the incident five-sixteenths out.” It did appear to me that there was one other horse minimally affected by the incident in the vicinity of the five-sixteenths pole due to the chain reaction triggered by Maximum Security. Cutting Humor was rallying wide at the time, then had to swing even wider to avoid the congestion that suddenly had materialized to his inside. The original order of finish in terms of the superfecta was Maximum Security first, County House second, Code of Honor third and Tacitus fourth. But after the objection sign was posted, the stewards deliberated for approximately 22 minutes, then disqualified Maximum Security from first and placed him 17th for “veering out and stacking up War of Will, Long Range Toddy and Bodexpress,” as stated in the Equibase chart. The official order of finish for the 2019 edition of the Grade I Kentucky Derby in terms of the superfecta now is Country House first, Code of Honor second, Tacitus third and Improbable fourth. It was the first time in the 145-year history of the Kentucky Derby that a winner has been disqualified for an incident during the running of the race. But Maximum Security is not the first Kentucky Derby starter to be disqualified. Gate Dancer, who became known for racing with earmuffs and who was infamous for lugging in, finished fourth in the 1984 Kentucky Derby. But he was disqualified and placed fifth for causing interference to Fali Time. Gate Dancer lugged in during the stretch run and bumped poor little Fali Time “several times,” as chronicled in the official Daily Racing Form chart. Later in 1984, Gate Dancer finished second to Wild Again in the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Classic at Hollywood Park. Battling for the lead in the final sixteenth, from the inside rail out, were Wild Again, Slew o’ Gold and Gate Dancer. Wild Again won by a head. Gate Dancer finished second, a half-length in front of Slew o’ Gold in third. Many thought Wild Again had drifted out and impeded Slew o’ Gold. But Gate Dancer lugged in and bumped Slew o’ Gold. Gate Dancer pushed Slew o’ Gold into the hindquarters of Wild Again. That caused the front part of Wild Again’s body to be at an angle toward the grandstand, giving the illusion that he was drifting out. But Wild Again stayed on his path or in his lane. The stewards disqualified Gate Dancer and placed him third, behind Slew o’ Gold. Prior to this year, Dancer’s Image had been the only Kentucky Derby winner ever to be disqualified. When the post-race urinalysis of Dancer’s Image showed the presence of Butazolidin, which at the time was a prohibited medication in Kentucky, Forward Pass was declared to be the winner of the 1968 Kentucky Derby except for pari-mutuel payoffs. First purse money and the winning trophy were awarded to Forward Pass’ owner, Calumet Farm, by order of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC). Peter Fuller, owner of Dancer’s Image, fought the disqualification in court for years, but to no avail. I think it’s fair to say the 2019 Kentucky Derby is the most controversial Triple Crown race since the 1980 Preakness Stakes. That 1980 Preakness is famous for an incident between Codex and the filly Genuine Risk turning into the stretch. Like the 2019 Kentucky Derby, the inquiry sign was not posted after the 1980 Preakness. Just before they straightened away in the stretch during the 1980 Preakness, Codex and jockey Angel Cordero Jr. had a narrow lead while racing to the inside of Genuine Risk. Jacinto Vasquez rode Genuine Risk. Two weeks earlier Vasquez and Genuine Risk had won the Kentucky Derby. In Richard Sowers’ book “The Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes,” he wrote of the 1980 Preakness incident turning for home when Codex already was racing wide: “When Angel Cordero glanced over and saw Genuine Risk coming, he guided Codex even wider toward the center of the track. Vasquez had no choice but to take Genuine Risk even wider, momentarily checking his mount, then pointing her almost at the grandstand. Depending on the source, Codex never actually touched Genuine Risk, violently slammed into her, or lightly brushed her -- the most likely scenario. Regardless, the filly lost all momentum. “Codex reached the furlong pole a length ahead of Genuine Risk with the rest of the field nowhere in sight, then coasted home 4 3/4 lengths in front.” “Vasquez quickly filed a foul claim against Cordero, who was greeted by vociferous boos by the record crowd of 83,455 and by two agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation when he returned to the jockeys’ quarters. While those who bet on Genuine Risk no doubt would love to have seen Cordero arrested, the FBI agents actually were on hand to protect Cordero after the FBI had received threats that the jockey’s home was going to be bombed. “The stewards disallowed the foul claim, and Genuine Risk’s owner, Diana Johnson Firestone, filed a formal complaint with the Maryland Racing Commission, which like the stewards, upheld Codex’s triumph.” As for Maximum Security’s disqualification in the 2019 Kentucky Derby, here are some of my thoughts: --The stewards have been criticized for not posting the inquiry sign. I do think that criticism is merited. But whether or not an inquiry sign is posted in any race, it is incumbent for stewards to adjudicate what had occurred during the running of the race vis-a-vis the rules in that particular jurisdiction. --I often have heard people say that there if there is a claim of foul and no inquiry, there is virtually no chance the stewards will make a change to the original order of finish. One thing this year’s Kentucky Derby once again proves is that stewards generally keep an open mind in determining whether or not a foul had been committed and/or a disqualification is warranted. --Flavian Prat, the rider of Country House, who originally finished second, lodged an objection again Maximum Security. It was not known publicly until after Saturday’s Churchill Downs card had been completed that Jon Court, the rider of Long Range Toddy, who originally finished 17th, also lodged an objection against Maximum Security. Prat and Court both alleged interference nearing the five-sixteenths pole. Court’s foul claim was not known publicly until it was mentioned by Barbara Borden, the KHRC’s chief steward, during a statement she read to the media after the final race of the day at Churchill Downs. In my opinion, the stewards dropped the ball by not making the public aware that Court, in addition to Prat, had lodged a claim of foul. Whereas Prat’s objection was noted in the original Equibase chart, there was no mention that Court also lodged an objection. The chart eventually was corrected to also include Court’s objection. --After watching the race live and a replay or two, I did not expect there would be a disqualification, especially considering Gaffalione had not claimed foul. I figured that if Gaffalione did not think it was worth claiming foul, then Maximum Security’s number probably would stay up. But as I saw more replays of the incident near the five-sixteenths pole, it became more evident to me that there might be a disqualification. It became clear that Maximum Security did not stay on his path or in his lane. By not doing so, he triggered a chain reaction that impacted multiple horses. War of Will, Bodexpress and Long Range Toddy were most egregiously impacted. Country House and/or Cutting Humor also possibly were minimally impacted. --The applicable KHRC rule states in part, “A leading horse, if clear, is entitled to any part of the track. If a leading horse or any other horse in a race swerves or is ridden to either side so as to interfere with, intimidate, or impede any other horse or jockey, or to cause the same result, this action shall be deemed a foul.” Stewards Borden, Butch Becraft and Tyler Picklesimer thus had to determine, in their judgment, did Maximum Security swerve? Their conclusion was, yes, he did. I agree. I think virtually everyone agrees on that point. Even Maximum Security’s rider said immediately after the race that Maximum Security had ducked out. --The applicable KHRC rule further states in part, “If in the opinion of the stewards a foul alters the finish of a race, an offending horse may be disqualified by the stewards.” A key phrase in that sentence is “may be disqualified” as opposed to “shall be disqualified.” This means the stewards have discretion in how they adjudicate a race. Even if they conclude a horse has committed a foul, they may or may not disqualify said horse. If they deem that the foul altered the finish of the race in question, then the horse should be disqualified in accordance with KHRC rules. On the other hand, if they deem that the foul did not alter the finish of the race, then they are permitted, under KHRC rules, to rule that there will be no disqualification of the horse in question. If it is concluded that Maximum Security swerved, did he then commit a foul? The stewards must address the second component of the applicable rule by also determining whether or not Maximum Security did “interfere with, intimidate, or impede any other horse or jockey.” Also, in the opinion of the stewards, if they conclude that by virtue of his actions Maximum Security did commit a foul, did it alter the finish of the race? If so, the offending horse “may” be disqualified by the stewards. The way I saw it: 1. Maximum Security did not stay on his path. He veered out sharply approaching the five-sixteenths pole. 2. As I said earlier, Maximum Security triggered an incident causing interference to War of Will, Bodexpress and Long Range Toddy, with possibly Country House and/or Cutting Humor also minimally impacted. 3. War of Will finished eighth, beaten by only a half-length for fifth. Fifth pays $90,000. I believe that when Maximum Security impeded War of Will, it cost War of Will the opportunity to finish fifth or possibly higher. Therefore, in my opinion, Maximum Security should have been disqualified. The stewards did disqualify Maximum Security and placed him behind the horse involved in the incident who finished the lowest, that being Long Range Toddy. That’s why the stewards placed Maximum Security 17th. --For those who are of the opinion that Maximum Security should not have been disqualified, what if his actions had caused War of Will to clip heels and fall? That came dangerously close to happening. Some photos show just how scary a predicament it was for War of Will, whose front legs amazingly did not clip or get tangled up with Maximum Security’s hind legs. If there had been a big wreck involving War of Will and/or a number of other horses, not only would Maximum Security most assuredly have been disqualified for causing the accident, I doubt very few people then would have disagreed with that decision. If Maximum Security’s actions warranted a disqualification had there been a spill, then why should he not be disqualified just because, luckily, there was not a spill? If War of Will had tripped and fallen to unseat Gaffalione, it would have occurred with a large number of horses racing behind them. In all likelihood, there would have been a multi-horse spill similar to a horrific pile-up on a freeway. Multiple horses and jockeys could have been severely injured, or possibly even worse. No doubt such a grisly scene would have been shown over and over and over on television and depicted on social media. It would have given horse racing the blackest of black eyes in what already has been an extremely difficult year for the sport. In the statement read by Borden explaining the stewards’ decision to disqualify Maximum Security, she said: “The rider of the 18 (Long Range Toddy) and 20 (Country House) horses in the Kentucky Derby lodged objections against the 7 horse (Maximum Security), the winner, due to interference turning for home, leaving the quarter pole. “We had a lengthy review of the race. We interviewed affected riders. We determined that the 7 horse drifted out and impacted the progress of No. 1 (War of Will), in turn interfering with the 18 and 21 (Bodexpress). Those horses were all affected, we thought, by the interference. “Therefore, we unanimously determined to disqualify No. 7 and place him behind the 18, the 18 being the lowest-placed horse that he bothered, which is our typical procedure.” --Borden called it “a lengthy review” on their part. Many have criticized the stewards for taking so long -- approximately 22 minutes -- to announce their decision. Normally, I believe that if it takes more than about five minutes for stewards to make a decision, that in itself is saying that nothing is clear-cut enough to warrant a disqualification. But I said that I normally believe that. That’s when stewards are looking at an incident involving two or maybe three horses rather than Saturday’s 19-horse Kentucky Derby. The stewards had much to consider during their video review of the bunched-up field on the far turn of the Kentucky Derby, even after deciding Maximum Security had drifted out and committed a foul that warranted a disqualification. The stewards had to take a look at those horses anywhere near the incident in question. The stewards had to go through it, horse by horse, to ascertain whether that particular horse had been involved in the incident, and if so, to what extent. Another factor that can play into the length of an inquiry is the stewards getting in contact with and talking to the riders. Also, once the stewards decide there is going to be a disqualification, they will be in communication with the mutuel department. The mutuel department needs sufficient time with a new order of finish before they are good to go with posting the payouts. Sometimes the mutuel department will need time to deal with the new order of finish. --After Borden read the statement explaining the disqualification of Maximum Security to the media approximately two hours after the Kentucky Derby, the stewards took no questions from the media. That, I believe, was inadvisable. They could have said “no comment” to any questions they did not to want to go the record by answering at that time. But at least the stewards would not have look as bad as they did by not taking a single question. When similar circumstances have occurred in California following a controversy in a big race (such as when Bayern was not disqualified for causing interference leaving the starting gate in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic), a steward or stewards for the California Horse Racing Board have been available that same day to take questions from the media. Gary West owns Maximum Security in partnership with his wife, Mary. Jason Servis trains the colt. According to a Daily Racing Form story written by David Grening, West said Sunday that after the disqualification had been made, he instructed the colt’s trainer to request a meeting with the stewards to go over video replays of the race, but the request was denied. West said he was told the earliest the stewards would go over the video of the race with him would be Thursday, which would be the next live racing day at Churchill Downs. The Bloodhorse’s Frank Angst quoted Gary West as saying of the stewards Sunday: “I can’t believe their total lack of transparency on a matter of this magnitude.” Angst wrote that Borden “said Sunday evening the stewards would be willing to meet with West, or other license holders involved, when they sit down Thursday with jockeys involved in the incident. She also said the meeting could happen before Thursday.” Borden, Angst wrote, “said she was not able to review the video with West or trainer Jason Servis because there were two races remaining on the card and, typically, reviews are not conducted on the same day stewards’ decisions are made.” In my opinion, due to the circumstances that this was a historic disqualification in the nation’s signature race, the stewards probably would have been better served to not treat this like a “typical” situation and meet with West and Servis, either after Saturday’s racing at Churchill Downs had been completed or the following day. Perhaps by explaining their decision to West and Servis, the stewards could have mollified them and defused the situation to some extent. I am thinking that probably would not have happened, but it was worth a shot. There really would have been no downside that I can see for the stewards if they had gone ahead and met with West and Servis on Saturday. Karen Murphy, a New York attorney, and Barry Stilz, a Kentucky attorney, filed an appeal Monday morning with the KHRC. According to Angst, the appeal filed on behalf of the Wests requested their appeal be heard by the full commission because the stewards’ actions were “arbitrary and capricious and did not comply with applicable administrative regulations. Their determination to disqualify Maximum Security is not supported by substantial evidence.” However, the applicable KHRC rule regarding an appeal as to the judgment call made by the stewards to disqualify Maximum Security is quite clear. According to the KHRC rules, “stewards’ findings of fact and rulings on matters occurring and incident to the running of the race shall be final and not subject to appeal.” In light of that KHRC rule, it came as no surprise that the appeal filed Monday morning with the KHRC was denied later in the day. The KHRC, in a letter sent by its general counsel, John L. Forgy, to representatives of the Wests on Monday, informed the owners of Maximum Security that their appeal had been denied. “Because stewards’ disqualification determination is not subject to appeal and for the reasons set forth below, your request for appeal is denied,” the letter from Forgy said, according to Angst. “Consequently, your request for stay pending appeal is moot because the law does not provide for an appeal.” Angst reported that the appeal denial letter noted that as a license condition for racing in Kentucky, every licensee agrees to abide by the KHRC’s rules and regulations. --Many have expressed their displeasure that Country House is the official 2019 Kentucky Derby winner when many, including the stewards and yours truly, believe that he was not interfered with in the incident near the five-sixteenths pole. It understandably leaves a sour taste in many mouths that Country House got “kissed in” to a Kentucky Derby victory after Maximum Security had reached the finish line in front, just as he had done in all four of his previous career starts. Andrew Beyer wrote in the Daily Racing Form: “NBC’s slow-motion coverage clearly showed Maximum Security moving [over] in front of War of Will, forcing jockey Tyler Gaffalione to steady his mount. This was a foul -- no doubt about it. The incident could have resulted in a bad accident -- but it didn’t. It probably cost War of Will a length, but he recovered quickly. He had a clear path ahead of him and a quarter of a mile in which to catch Maximum Security, and he drew within a length of the leader, but he faded badly at the end and finished eighth. He was never going to win the Derby, or even finish in the money. Nor were the two longshots who were behind War of Will on the turn and were also hampered by the incident.” Beyer makes the point that “the incident could have resulted in a bad accident -- but it didn’t,” the implication being that if the incident had resulted in a bad accident, then Maximum Security should have been disqualified. As I said earlier, if there had been a bad accident, I don’t think anybody -- including obviously Beyer -- would have disagreed with disqualifying Maximum Security. In my opinion, Maximum Security was lucky he did not cause a bad accident. But being lucky in that regard does not, in my view, absolve Maximum Security from being held accountable for the interference that even Beyer concedes he caused. “I don’t see how justice was served in any way by disqualifying the best horse,” Beyer also wrote. “And it certainly was not served by elevating Country House, who had a relatively easy trip, and had every chance to catch Maximum Security in the stretch, but couldn’t do it.” As I have said to many participants during the times in which I have worked as a steward in California, Washington and Idaho, whenever a horse does not stay on his or her path, there is an increased risk that the horse could be disqualified and the rider sanctioned. If Maximum Security had simply stayed on his path or in his lane, he would have been the 2019 Kentucky Derby winner. I do concur with those who say it’s unfortunate that Country House was awarded the 2019 Kentucky Derby victory via Maximum Security’s DQ rather than any of the horses who were interfered with on the far turn. But that’s just not how it works. I will say that Country House does deserve to get some credit for running a race that was good enough to finish second in the field of 19, which is what enabled him to be the major beneficiary of Maximum Security’s disqualification. MORE FALLOUT FROM DISQUALIFICATION On Tuesday, Bob Ehalt wrote for the BloodHorse that West “now believes it was Maximum Security who was fouled by War of Will, instead of how stewards at Churchill Downs viewed the race.” West made reference to his viewing of a slow-motion video of that portion of the Kentucky Derby that had been posted on May 6 on the Horse Racing Nation website. “I started out trying to make a case for my horse coming down,” West said. “I watched what we did to [War of Will] in one video and if anyone is halfway intellectually honest and looks at that video, they would never claim our horse did anything to War of Will. You will see that every bit of the interference was caused by War of Will against Maximum Security. “Watch how many times War of Will’s legs go up under our horse. Our horse gets cut up like crazy. At some point his nose touches the back of our horse. He actually bumps our horse. Our horse almost falls down. And if not for our rider there might have been 10 dead riders and horses this morning.” Gary Barber and Mark Casse have a much different view of what happened on the far turn in the Kentucky Derby. Barber owns and Casse trains War of Will. “He must have been watching a different race,” Casse is quoted as saying in Ehalt’s story. “I’ve seen 10 different views and if anything, it was worse than I originally thought. [Maximum Security] didn’t bump us once, he bumped us twice. In my mind, the only reason it took so long to take him down was because they didn’t know where to place him.” Barber released a statement that said in part: “It has recently been brought to my attention that Mr. Gary West stated on Fox News that my horse War of Will caused the infraction in the Derby. I categorically deny this false accusation. The video evidence irrefutably shows that his horse, Maximum Security, caused a major infraction that almost led to a catastrophe and in doing so, denied my horse and others of a better placing.” I viewed the video posted on Horse Racing Nation numerous times. When the video begins, apparently past the five-sixteenths pole, Maximum Security was leading whenracing along the inside rail while staying in his path, with War of Will racing directly behind Maximum Security. Approaching the three-eighths pole, War of Will angled to the outside. When he did that, it appears he made contact with Long Range Toddy. But from there to near the five-sixteenths pole, when West alleges that War of Will causes interference to Maximum Security, I do not see that on the video. West said to watch how many times “War of Will’s legs go up under our horse.” I do see that, but in my opinion, when that occurred, I believe it was because Maximum Security had veered out sharply into War of Will’s path. On the videotape, I do not see War of Will bump Maximum Security, as West alleged. I do see War of Will nearly get dropped by Maximum Security. I am not buying the hypothesis that the incident was caused by War of Will running up and somehow impeding Maximum Security from behind. Gaffalione on Tuesday via Twitter also responded to West’s allegations. In his tweet, Gaffalione displayed four photos showing the field on the far turn. In Gaffalione’s tweet, MS is Maximum Security, LRT is Long Range Toddy and BE is Bodexpress. Gaffalione said in his tweet: “…In the first picture MS is inside. Second picture MS comes out herding LRT and BE. Third and fourth photo show that MS comes back in and I took the spot he vacated. Never did I bump or brush anyone.” As I noted earlier, it does appear to me that Gaffalione and War of Will did make contact with Long Range Toddy approaching the three-eighths pole. But keep in mind that Court, the rider of Long Range Toddy, evidently did not feel that contact, if it did occur, was of consequence in that he claimed foul only against Maximum Security for the incident nearing the five-sixteenths pole. Court did not claim foul against War of Will for anything he did. Meanwhile, West said Maximum Security “got cut up like crazy.” I don’t doubt that. But in my opinion, Maximum Security likely would not have sustained cuts allegedly inflicted by War of Will if Maximum Security had stayed on his path rather than veering out into War of Will’s path. Ben Glass, racing manager for the Wests, said in a Tuesday story written by Jonathan Lintner for Horse Racing Nation that Maximum Security exited the Kentucky Derby with abrasions on his hind legs. Glass said that’s the reason the connections had not thought any further about entering Maximum Security in the May 18 Pimlico Stakes at Pimlico. According to Lintner, after Maximum Security arrived Tuesday at Monmouth Park, Servis had a professional photographer “document the wounds.” A state vet also signed an affidavit confirming they were fresh from the race. “This is why Jason said we can’t go -- because he’s got abrasions and [is] swollen a little bit,” Glass said. “Mr. West and I, we were leaning toward the Preakness if we got this overturned. We were going to go for the Triple Crown.” This revelation of Maximum Security’s abrasions is interesting inasmuch as the morning after the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs reported in its “day after” notes for the race that “trainer Jason Servis reported via text message Sunday morning that Gary and Mary West’s Maximum Security exited his eventful run in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby in good order.” Servis said Maximum Security exited the race “in good order,” but now the racing manager for the Wests says that Servis said they can’t go to the Preakness because the colt’s “got abrasions and [is] swollen a little bit.” Like I said, the 2019 Kentucky Derby is a race that is going to be discussed and debated for a very long time. COUNTRY HOUSE VIRTUALLY IGNORED IN THE BETTING From a wagering perspective, this year’s Kentucky Derby went from being won by Maximum Security, the 9-2 second choice, to Country House, who was the second-longest priced winner in the history of the race at 65-1. Country House, a Kentucky-bred son of Lookin At Lucky and the War Chant mare Quake Lake, paid a whopping $132.40 for each $2 win ticket. He returned $56.60 to place and $24.60 to show. That meant my pick to win the 2005 Kentucky Derby, Closing Argument, still holds the record for the highest place payoff in the history of the race. Closing Argument, dismissed at 71-1, paid $70 to place after finishing second to 50-1 longshot Giacomo. The win by Country House ended the streak of six straight Kentucky Derby winning favorites. TRIPLE-DIGIT BEYER POSTED BY MAXIMUM SECURITY As I wrote last week, being able to produce a Beyer Speed Figure of 100 or higher in the Kentucky Derby is important. It almost always takes a Beyer of 100 or higher to win the race. As mentioned earlier, the only starter in this year’s Kentucky Derby to have ever recorded a Beyer Speed Figure of 100 or higher was Maximum Security, something he had done twice. The Kentucky-bred New Year’s Day colt was credited with a 102 Beyer when he won a seven-furlong allowance/optional claiming race by 18 1/4 lengths at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 20. Maximum Security then recorded a 101 when victorious by 3 1/2 lengths in Gulfstream’s Grade I Xpressbet.com Florida Derby at 1 1/8 miles on March 30. In terms of Maximum Security’s performance to finish first in the Kentucky Derby, he was assigned a 101 Beyer Speed Figure. He completed 1 1/4 miles on a sloppy track in 2:03.93. Other than Maximum Security, everyone else, including Country House, failed to get a triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure in this year’s Kentucky Derby. Country House recorded a career-best 99 Beyer Speed Figure for his Kentucky Derby effort. His previous top had been a 91 when he finished third behind Omaha Beach and Improbable in the Arkansas Derby. Below are the Beyer Speed Figures for each Kentucky Derby winner going back to 1989: 2019 Country House (99)+ 2018 Justify (103) 2017 Always Dreaming (102) 2016 Nyquist (103) 2015 American Pharoah (105) 2014 California Chrome (97) 2013 Orb (104) 2012 I’ll Have Another (101) 2011 Animal Kingdom (103) 2010 Super Saver (104) 2009 Mine That Bird (105) 2008 Big Brown (109) 2007 Street Sense (110) 2006 Barbaro (111) 2005 Giacomo (100) 2004 Smarty Jones (107) 2003 Funny Cide (109) 2002 War Emblem (114) 2001 Monarchos (116) 2000 Fusaichi Pegasus (108) 1999 Charismatic (108) 1998 Real Quiet (107) 1997 Silver Charm (115) 1996 Grindstone (112) 1995 Thunder Gulch (108) 1994 Go for Gin (112) 1993 Sea Hero (105) 1992 Lil E. Tee (107) 1991 Strike the Gold* 1990 Unbridled* 1989 Sunday Silence (102) +Country House finished second but was placed first through the disqualification of Maximum Security *No Beyer Speed Figure listed PRAT AND MOTT TEAM UP FOR THE VICTORY Congratulations to Flavian Prat and his agent, Derek Lawson, for winning the 2019 Kentucky Derby with Country House. Prat, 26, has emerged as a riding star on the Southern California circuit and now can put a Kentucky Derby victory on his list of accomplishments. Prat rode Omaha Beach in his first five races. But when Prat opted to ride Galilean the Grade II Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 16, Hall of Famer Mike Smith was given the call to ride Omaha Beach in the Rebel. Smith retained the mount on Omaha Beach for the Grade I Arkansas Derby, which they won on April 13. One can’t blame Prat and Lawson for feeling down when it had appeared that they had missed out on riding Omaha Beach in the Kentucky Derby. But all’s well that ends well. It turned out great for Prat in the end as he won the Kentucky Derby with Country House, while Omaha Beach was scratched from the race. If Mott was going to win the Kentucky Derby this year, most people figured it would be with Tacitus, who was sent away at 5-1 compared to Country House’s 65-1. Though Tacitus did not win, after being as far back as 16th, he rallied to finish fourth and was moved up to third via Maximum Security’s DQ. This was Mott’s first Kentucky Derby victory. Following the DQ of Maximum Security, it turned out that Mott sent out the official first- and third-place finishers in this year’s Run for the Roses, which was quite a feat. The 65-year-old Hall of Famer has conditioned fellow Hall of Famers Cigar and Royal Delta, plus such other champions as Ajina, Escena, Favorite Trick, Paradise Creek and Theatrical. STRIKES FOR MAXIMUM SECURITY AND COUNTRY HOUSE In 1999, I developed my Derby Strikes System. The system consists of nine key factors that attempt to determine the chances a horse has to win the Kentucky Derby from both tactical and historical perspectives. When a horse does not qualify in one of the nine categories, the horse gets a strike. The nine key factors (or categories) are explained at the end of this column. Maximum Security, who finished first in this year’s Kentucky Derby, had one strike. Like so many horses these days, he got a strike in Category 6 for having made fewer than six lifetime starts prior to the Kentucky Derby. Country House, now the official winner of this year’s Kentucky Derby, had two strikes. He got one strike in Category 2 for not having won a graded stakes race prior to the Kentucky Derby, plus another strike in Category 3 for not having been first or second at the eighth pole in either of his two most recent starts before the Kentucky Derby. Including this year, 38 of the last 47 Kentucky Derby winners have had zero strikes or just one strike. If Maximum Security had not been disqualified, it would be 39 of the last 47. After this year’s Run for the Roses, seven of the last 46 Kentucky Derby winners have had two strikes: Cannonade (1974), Ferdinand (1986), Sea Hero (1993), Funny Cide (2003), Giacomo (2005), Always Dreaming (2017) and Country House (2019). Of the last 47 horses to win the Kentucky Derby, only two, Mine That Bird and Justify, have done so with more than two strikes. Mine That Bird had four strikes, one more than Justify. WINNER’S STRIKES FROM 1973 THROUGH 2019 The Derby Strikes System can’t go back any further than 1973 due to the fact that two of my nine key factors deal with graded stakes races. Races in the United States were first graded in 1973. Here are the strikes for each Kentucky Derby winner going back to 1973: 2019 Country House (2 strikes) Categories 2 and 3* 2018 Justify (3 strikes) Categories 1, 6 and 8 2017 Always Dreaming (2 strikes) Categories 1 and 6 2016 Nyquist (0 strikes) 2015 American Pharoah (1 strike) Category 6 2014 California Chrome (0 strikes) 2013 Orb (0 strikes) 2012 I’ll Have Another (1 strike) Category 6 2011 Animal Kingdom (1 strike) Category 6 2010 Super Saver (1 strike) Category 4 2009 Mine That Bird (4 strikes) Categories 1, 4, 5 and 9 2008 Big Brown (1 strike) Category 6 2007 Street Sense (0 strikes) 2006 Barbaro (1 strike) Category 6 2005 Giacomo (2 strikes) Categories 2 and 5 2004 Smarty Jones (0 strikes) 2003 Funny Cide (2 strikes) Categories 2 and 9 2002 War Emblem (0 strikes) 2001 Monarchos (0 strikes) 2000 Fusaichi Pegasus (1 strike) Category 6 1999 Charismatic (1 strike) Category 5 1998 Real Quiet (0 strikes) 1997 Silver Charm (1 strike) Category 4 1996 Grindstone (0 strikes) 1995 Thunder Gulch (0 strikes) 1994 Go for Gin (0 strikes) 1993 Sea Hero (2 strikes) Categories 3 and 5 1992 Lil E. Tee (0 strikes) 1991 Strike the Gold (0 strikes) 1990 Unbridled (1 strike) Category 3 1989 Sunday Silence (0 strikes) 1988 Winning Colors (0 strikes) 1987 Alysheba (1 strike) Category 2 1986 Ferdinand (2 strikes) Categories 2 and 4 1985 Spend a Buck (0 strikes) 1984 Swale (0 strikes) 1983 Sunny’s Halo (1 strike) Category 1 1982 Gato Del Sol (1 strike) Category 3 1981 Genuine Risk (1 strike) Category 1 1980 Pleasant Colony (0 strikes) 1979 Spectacular Bid (0 strikes) 1978 Affirmed (0 strikes) 1977 Seattle Slew (0 strikes) 1976 Bold Forbes (0 strikes) 1975 Foolish Pleasure (0 strikes) 1974 Cannonade (2 strikes) Categories 3 and 4 1973 Secretariat (0 strikes) *Maximum Security, with one strike in Category 6, finished first in 2019 but was disqualified and placed 17th “EIGHTH POLE FACTOR” COMES THROUGH AGAIN One of the most important factors that I consider when trying to predict the winner of the Kentucky Derby is figuring out who has a very good chance to be either first or second with a furlong to go. Including this year’s Kentucky Derby, 54 of the last 57 winners have been first or second with a furlong left to run. Last Saturday, with a furlong to go, Maximum Security was first, while Country House was second. THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLLS Here is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 378 Bricks and Mortar (26) 2. 313 McKinzie (7) 3. 275 Gift Box (3) 4. 201 Midnight Bisou (201) 5. 196 Mitole 6. 193 World of Trouble 7. 149 Monomoy Girl (3) 8. 90 Roy H 9. 89 Thunder Snow (2) 10 77 City of Light (2) Here is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top 3-Year-Old Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 378 Maximum Security (25) 2. 344 Omaha Beach (13) 3. 318 Country House (6) 4. 258 Code of Honor 5. 253 Tacitus 6. 178 Game Winner 7. 175 Improbable 8. 156 War of Will 9. 55 Serengeti Empress 10. 33 Roadster DERBY STRIKES SYSTEM’S CATEGORIES These are the nine key factors (or categories) in my Derby Strikes System (updated through 2019): 1. THE GRADED STAKES FACTOR. (The horse ran in a graded stakes race as a 3-year-old before March 31.) This points out horses who have competed against tough competition at 3 prior to March 31 rather than at the last minute in April, enabling the horse to be properly battle-tested. (Exceptions: Since the introduction of graded stakes races in the U.S. in 1973, only Genuine Risk in 1980, Sunny’s Halo in 1983, Mine That Bird in 2009, Always Dreaming in 2017 and Justify in 2018 have won the Kentucky Derby without running in a graded stakes race at 3 before March 31.) 2. THE WIN IN A GRADED STAKES FACTOR. (The horse has won a graded stakes race.) This points out horses who have shown they have the class to win a graded stakes race. (Exceptions: Ferdinand in 1986, Alysheba in 1987, Funny Cide in 2003, Giacomo in 2005 and Country House in 2019 are the only exceptions since the introduction of U.S. graded stakes races in 1973; Alysheba in 1987 did finish first in the Blue Grass, only to be disqualified and placed third.) 3. THE EIGHTH POLE FACTOR. (In either of his or her last two starts before the Kentucky Derby, the horse was either first or second with a furlong to go.) This points out horses who were running strongly at the eighth pole, usually in races at 1 1/16 or 1 1/8 miles. By running strongly at the same point in the Kentucky Derby, a horse would be in a prime position to win the roses. Keep in mind that 54 of the last 57 Kentucky Derby winners have been first or second with a furlong to run. Since Decidedly won the Derby in 1962 when he was third with a furlong to go, the only three Kentucky Derby winners who were not first or second with a furlong to run were Animal Kingdom, third with a furlong remaining in 2011 when only a half-length from being second; Giacomo, sixth with a furlong to go in 2005; and Grindstone, fourth with a furlong to run in 1996. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the Kentucky Derby winners who weren’t either first or second at the eighth pole in his or her most recent two starts have been Tim Tam in 1958, Carry Back in 1961, Cannonade in 1974, Gato Del Sol in 1982, Unbridled in 1990, Sea Hero in 1993 and Country House in 2019, with Canonero II in 1971 unknown.) 4. THE GAMENESS FACTOR. (The horse’s finish position in both of his or her last two races before the Kentucky Derby was no worse than his or her running position at the eighth pole.) This points out horses who don’t like to get passed in the final furlong. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the exceptions have been Venetian Way in 1960, Cannonade in 1974, Foolish Pleasure in 1975, Ferdinand in 1986, Silver Charm in 1997, Mine That Bird in 2009 and Super Saver in 2010, with Canonero II in 1971 unknown.) 5. THE DISTANCE FOUNDATION FACTOR. (The horse has finished at least third in a 1 1/8-mile race or longer before the Kentucky Derby.) This points out horses who have the proper foundation and/or stamina for the Kentucky Derby distance. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the only exceptions have been Kauai King in 1966, Sea Hero in 1993, Charismatic in 1999, Giacomo in 2005 and Mine That Bird in 2009.) 6. THE SUFFICIENT RACING EXPERIENCE FACTOR. (The horse has had at least six lifetime starts before the Kentucky Derby.) This points out horses who have the needed experience. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the exceptions have been Grindstone in 1996, Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000, Barbaro in 2006, Big Brown in 2008, Animal Kingdom in 2011, I’ll Have Another in 2012, American Pharoah in 2015, Always Dreaming in 2017 and Justify in 2018. Grindstone, Fusaichi Pegasus, Barbaro, I’ll Have Another, American Pharoah and Always Dreaming each had made five starts before the Kentucky Derby. Animal Kingdom had made four starts before the Kentucky Derby. Big Brown and Justify had made three starts before the Kentucky Derby.) 7. THE NO ADDING OR REMOVING BLINKERS FACTOR. (The horse has not added blinkers or had blinkers removed in his or her final start at 3 before the Kentucky Derby.) This seems to point out that, if a horse is good enough to win the Kentucky Derby, the trainer is not searching for answers so late in the game. (Since Daily Racing Form began including blinkers in its past performances in 1987, no horse has added blinkers or had blinkers removed in his or her last start at 3 before winning the Kentucky Derby.) 8. THE RACED AS A 2-YEAR-OLD FACTOR. (The horse made at least one start as a 2-year-old.) (Exceptions: Apollo in 1882 and Justify in 2018 are the only Kentucky Derby winners who didn’t race as a 2-year-old. Through 2018, the score is 142-2 in terms of Kentucky Derby winners who raced at 2. Since 1937, horses unraced as a 2-year-old are a combined 1 for 63 in the Kentucky Derby. During this period, the only horses to win, place or show were Hampden, who finished third in 1946; Coaltown, second in 1948; Agitate, third in 1974; Reinvested, third in 1982; Strodes Creek, second in 1994; Curlin, third in 2007; Bodemeister, second in 2012; Battle of Midway, third in 2017; and Justify, first in 2018.) 9. THE NOT A GELDING FACTOR. (The horse is not a gelding.) (Exceptions: Funny Cide in 2003 and Mine That Bird in 2009 are the only geldings to win the Kentucky Derby since Clyde Van Dusen in 1929.)