If it weren't for bad luck in his last four races, True Valour would have had no luck at all.
The Irish-bred turf miler trained by Simon Callaghan for Qatar Racing Limited was 10th in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Mile last Nov. 2, steadying past the eighth pole; eighth in the G2 Joe Hernandez on Jan. 1 after bobbling at the start and going three wide; third in the G3 Thunder Road on Feb. 8 after steadying early and waiting for room at the quarter pole; and fourth, beaten only a length, in the G1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile March 7, again bobbling at the start.
Next up: Monday's Memorial Day headliner, the G1 Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif.
“He's been unlucky, he likes being covered up and having something to run at,” Callaghan said of the 6-year-old full horse, who has two graded stakes wins at Santa Anita, the Thunder Road and the City of Hope Mile, both in 2019.
“One day he'll win a big one again.”
There couldn't be one much bigger than the Shoemaker, the first Breeders' Cup “Win and You're In' Challenge Race in the United States this year, which entitles the nominated winner automatic entry into the 2020 TVG Breeders' Cup Mile at Keeneland on Nov. 7.
The race is named for Bill Shoemaker, who remains the gold standard among jockeys 17 years after his death. In a career of nearly four decades. “The Shoe” won 8,833 races, a number that still resonates today.
His first victory came aboard his third mount, Shafter V., a $3,000 claiming filly at Golden Gate Fields April 29, 1949. The last horse he rode was Patchy Groundfog who finished fourth at Santa Anita in a nationally televised race on Feb. 3, 1990.
As good with people as he was on horses, Shoemaker died at the age of 72 on Oct. 12, 2003.
True Valour worked five furlongs May 17 in 1:03. “That was his last breeze before the race; he's ready,” said Callaghan, who also has the ultra-consistent Miss Hot Legs entered Monday in the G2 Monrovia Stakes at 5 ½ furlongs on turf.
“She always seems to run her race,” Callaghan said of the four-year-old chestnut daughter of Verrazano, who has a 2-5-1 record from nine starts. Second by a half-length in the restricted Wishing Well last out, Miss Hot Legs seeks her first stakes win in the Monrovia.
The field for the Shoemaker Mile, race nine of 11 with a 12:30 p.m. first post time: Without Parole, Irad Ortiz Jr., 4-1; True Valour, Jose Valdivia Jr., 20-1; Next Shares, John Velazquez, 12-1; Voodoo Song, Mike Smith,12-1; War of Will, Flavien Prat, 4-1; Blitzkrieg, Drayden Van Dyke, 20-1; Majestic Eagle, Jorge Velez, 20-1; Raging Bull, Joel Rosario, 7-2; March to the Arch, Victor Espinoza, 6-1; Neptune's Storm, Umberto Rispoli, 15-1; and River Boyne, Abel Cedillo, 4-1.
The field for the Monrovia, race five: Stealthediamonds, Agapito Delgadillo, 5-1; Oleksandra, Joel Rosario, 3-1; Ginger Nut, Umberto Rispoli, 15-1; Surrender Now, Drayden Van Dyke, 10-1; Miss Hot Legs, John Velazquez, 10-1; Into Mystic, Abel Cedillo, 10-1; Jolie Olimpica, Mike Smith, 8-5; and Just Grazed Me, Flavien Prat, 5-1
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