by Jeremy Plonk
March 23, 2020
Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP.
March 16-March 22, 2020
MVP: By My Standards
Owner: Allied Racing Stables
Trainer: Bret Calhoun
Jockey: Gabriel Saez
Performance: Under a confident look the entire trip, By My Standards drew clear March 21 to a 3-length victory in the Grade 2 $400,000 New Orleans Classic. The son of Goldencents continued his Fair Grounds affinity, having won last year’s Louisiana Derby over the same track as well as a February 9 allowance return to kick off what could be a productive 4-year-old season. By My Standards pressed pacemaker Silver Dust and put that one away, while favorite Fearless was unable to keep up through a sparkling fourth quarter in 23.35. By My Standards ran the final 3 furlongs in a remarkable 35.91. He’s now won 4 of 8 starts for $921,910.
On Tap: Schedule uncertainly will be the main story with what’s left of the 2020 racing season. The Grade 2 $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap has been rescheduled for May 2 and could be a fit, but there are obvious issues precluding any plans. This would be a contender in the Breeders’ Cup Classic or Dirt Mile divisions at Keeneland in the autumn if we’re fortunate to be talking about such things by then.
Honorable Mentions: Louisiana Derby winner Wells Bayou gave trainer Brad Cox a trio of graded stakes wins on the Saturday card at Fair Grounds, and served as an apt replacement for sidelined stablemate and Risen Star victor Mister Monomoy. Meanwhile, West Virginia-bred star Runnin’toluvya won his 2020 return in allowance company Saturday night, ending a 7-race win streak for Penguin Power. Last year’s Charles Town Classic hero, Runnin’toluvya won for the 14th time in 21 starts and is just shy of $1 million earned. Also, dirt sprint star Cistron transferred back to the turf in his 2020 return bid and ran down quality grass dasher Bound for Nowhere to win Saturday’s co-featured Grade 3 San Simeon at Santa Anita.