Allied Racing Stable's By My Standards broke his maiden last out over the Fair Grounds strip and immediately jumped up to graduate in the G2 Louisiana Derby at odds of 22-1. The 3-year-old son of Goldencents, ridden by Gabriel Saez and trained by Bret Calhoun, came up the rail in the stretch to best Spinoff by three-quarters of a length on the wire. The effort earned By My Standards 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and was also the 100th career victory (and first graded stakes win) for his ownership group led by Chester Thomas.
The timers appeared to malfunction during the Louisiana Derby, but a hand-recorded final time of 1:49 2/5 was posted on the tote board after the race.
A heavy race favorite at 4-5, Mark Casse trainee War of Will stumbled badly in his hind end out of the gate and was in traffic all the way around the far turn; he finished off the board.
Lemniscate shot out of the starting gate on top the field and was pressed early by Sueno, while both By My Standards and Spinoff were traveling well behind those two. War of Will was in behind horses in the middle of the pack after losing his footing behind in the earliest stages of the race; he was hemmed in by Mr. Money down the backstretch.
Spinoff made his bid three-wide around the turn, putting away Sueno, but Saez found a seam just to the outside of the fading Lemniscate and sent By My Standards on up the rail. In the final eighth of a mile By My Standards was determined to hit the wire first and did so three-quarters of a length ahead of Spinoff. Sueno was several lengths back in third, while Country House could do no better than fourth.
Bred in Kentucky by Don Ladd, By My Standards was a $150,000 2-year-old purchase at the OBS April sale. The colt required four starts to break his maiden but has never finished off the board, and the Louisiana Derby improves his record to 2-2-1 from five starts. By My Standards has now earned over $650,000.
“I think the maiden win was crucial for him,” Calhoun said. “When he was third the time before he broke his maiden it was a very disappointing race for us. It looked like he had the race in control and just didn't finish them off. It was a disappointing race. He bounced back and that's when the light came on. He was a different horse in the mornings from that point on. His breezes in the morning were just unbelievable. There were some fast works there and none of them were intentional. He just turned into a different horse.”
Calhoun was aware of the tough field that he was up against but nevertheless, his confidence in the horse never wavered.
“It gives you a lot of confidence beating a field like that,” Calhoun continued. “(War of Will) had been very impressive for quite a while around here and very consistent. I knew we were up against it today, I didn't know exactly how we were going to stack up against those kinds of horses,, but our horse was doing very, very well and we took our chance.”
As for favorite War of Will's early trouble, trainer Casse said, “We think what happened was about four jumps out of the gate. He actually broke in front and if you watch he buckles on his right hind. And we believe, maybe it was stumble of some sort. But when he did we think he strained maybe a muscle or whatever. But he was significantly off after the race. He's significantly off. I've just been on the phone with Dr. Robert McMartin, he's my main guy. He thinks he might have caught his stifle or something. We feel like he'll probably be a little better tomorrow and we're going to further evaluation him.”
Casse was unsure as to whether or not War of Will, would be able to make the Kentucky Derby. Winner of both the Grade III Lecomte and Grade II Risen Star Presented by Lamarque Ford, he has 60 qualifying points towards the First Saturday in May.
“I would not absolutely rule him out because this is something that he can get over very quickly,” Casse said. “We'll see. The good news is he hasn't broken anything. It's a muscle strain of some sort. We're confident of that.”
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