May 2010 Award Winners
|May'10 Award||Winner||Honorable Mention|
|Horse of the Month||Super Saver||Lookin at Lucky|
|Jockey of the Month||Ramon Dominguez||Rafael Bejarano|
|Trainer of the Month||Todd Pletcher||Bob Baffert|
Horse of the Month
First Saturday in May? Kentucky Derby? You’ve heard of it? Excellent! There’s your Horse of the Month: Super Saver
Third Saturday in May? Preakness Stakes? You’ve heard of that too? Wonderful! There’s your Honorable Mention: Lookin At Lucky
Jockey of the Month
Three Grade 2 wins – the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile with Phola, the Dixie Stakes with Strike A Deal, and the Sands Point Stakes with Check The Label – propelled Ramon Dominguez to the Jockey of the Month award for May. Dominguez also just missed in a couple of big races this month, finishing second with Musket Man to Quality Road in the Met Mile and second with First Dude to Lookin At Lucky in the Preakness Stakes.
Rafael Bejarano also had three graded stakes victories this month, winning the Grade 1 Turf Classic with General Quarters, the Grade 2 Mervyn Leroy Handicap with Rail Trip, and the Grade 1 Gamely Stakes with Tuscan Evening (the fifth graded stakes win this year for Bejarano on Tuscan Evening).
Trainer of the Month
Maybe we should just rename the Trainer of the Month award the Pletcher Award. Todd Pletcher won his fourth Pletcher Award in a row in May by saddling the winners of five graded stakes races during the month. The highlight of the month year for Pletcher has to be winning his first Kentucky Derby, with Super Saver. Other than that, all Pletcher did was win the Met Mile (G1) with Quality Road, the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2) with Phola, the Vagrancy (G2) with Hour Glass and the Dogwood (G3) with Ailalea.
Bob Baffert only won two graded stakes in May, but one of them was the Preakness with Lookin At Lucky and that was enough to earn him the Honorable Mention.
2010 Monthly Award Winners
|JAN||Gabby's Golden Gal||Joel Rosario||Bob Baffert|
|FEB||Quality Road||Rafael Bejarano||Todd Pletcher|
|MAR||Ice Box||Mike Smith||Todd Pletcher|
|APR||Blind Luck||Julien Leparoux||Todd Pletcher|
|MAY||Super Saver||Ramon Dominguez||Todd Pletcher|
|JUN||Zenyatta||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher|
Graded Stakes Points
Only 11 horses have won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. The first was Sir Barton in 1919, before the three races were known as the Triple Crown. Eleven years later, Gallant Fox began the Golden Age of the Triple Crown – seven Triple Crown winners in a span of nineteen years. Twenty-five years later there would be another, briefer, Golden Age that would produce three Triple Crowns in a six year span, ending with Affirmed in 1978.
1919 Sir Barton
1930 Gallant Fox
1937 War Admiral
1943 Count Fleet
1977 Seattle Slew
Since then, eleven horses have won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, but none were able to complete the Triple Crown with a win in the Belmont Stakes. Seven other horses won two of the three legs, either Derby/Belmont or Preakness/Belmont. The other fourteen years, including 2010 (assuming Super Saver and Lookin at Lucky skip the Belmont, as their trainers have indicated), the three races have had different winners. That’s 32 years, and counting, without a Triple Crown winner.
Do you think there will be a Triple Crown winner within the next 10 years?
- Yes (57%, 4 Votes)
- No (43%, 3 Votes)
Total Voters: 7
What are the primary factors working against there being a Triple Crown winner?
- Breeders don't breed for classic distances (57%, 4 Votes)
- Triple Crown races are too close together (43%, 3 Votes)
- Thoroughbred breed is degraded (29%, 2 Votes)
- Trainers are too conservative with top horses (29%, 2 Votes)
- Modern thoroughbreds are too fragile (14%, 1 Votes)
- Other (14%, 1 Votes)
- Horses don't get enough prep races as three-year-olds (14%, 1 Votes)
- Horses don't race enough as two-year-olds (14%, 1 Votes)
- Too many drugs in the sport (14%, 1 Votes)
- Too many prep races on all-weather tracks (0%, 0 Votes)
- Owners are too quick to retire top horses (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 7
Filed under: Horse Racing, Triple Crown
Make it 32 years without a Triple Crown winner.
Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver put in a good effort for as long as he could, but just didn’t have enough this time. Outsprinted at the start by First Dude, jockey Calvin Borel found a comfortable spot in the two path just behind First Dude and was content to track that one for the first six furlongs. However, as the field started to bunch leaving the final turn, and Super Saver moved up to engage the leader, he simply ran out of gas. Clearly, Super Saver needed more time to recover after the Kentucky Derby, but when you’re the Derby winner you go on to the Preakness, ready or not. Trainer Todd Pletcher said after the race, “Coming off a huge effort in the Derby, the two weeks was too short.”
The two week layoff wasn’t too short for Lookin at Lucky. Sent off as the favorite in the Kentucky Derby, he endured a troubled trip and did well to finish sixth. This time, it was Lookin at Lucky who benefited from the perfect trip. Breaking well under new jockey Martin Garcia, who quickly guided him to the two path to save ground around the first turn, Lookin at Lucky raced in sixth down the backstretch, angled out for clear running room and moved up four wide around the final turn to draw even with the leaders (First Dude and Caracortado) entering the stretch and outfinished a dead game First Dude to win by three-quarters of a length. Lookin at Lucky’s final time of 1:55.47 was only two-fifths of a second slower than Rachel Alexandra’s winning time last year and earned him a Beyer Speed Figure of 102.
First Dude ran an awesome race. Breaking from post position eleven, he quickly took the lead and made all the pace, setting fast fractions of :22.91, :46.47 and 1:11.22. When collared by Lookin at Lucky at the top of the stretch, First Dude never backed down. Lookin at Lucky took a short lead in midstretch, but First Dude battled back, and may have even stuck a nose back in front, before yielding late to lose by only three-quarters of a length.
Also running big races were the third and fourth place finishers, Jackson Bend and Yawanna Twist. Jackson Bend ran in tandem with Super Saver for the first six furlongs chasing pacesetter First Dude through rapid fractions. Whereas Super Saver faded to eighth, Jackson Bend continued to fight on, getting within a head of First Dude and only losing the race itself by less than a length. Yawanna Twist was steadied a couple of times early, but was in good position in the stretch and actually moved into third ahead of Jackson Bend when that one was caught in traffic, but could not sustain his bid to the wire and ended up a length behind Jackson Bend.
Finally, what can be said about Dublin? The starting gate opens and everyone takes off down the stretch, except for Dublin, who, for some reason, makes a sharp turn to the right, scattering the outriders stationed along the rail, before correcting course and joining the race. That little stunt left Dublin in last, five lengths behind Aikenite running in eleventh, and a full eighteen lengths behind the leaders. Dublin stayed in last, and hugged the rail to save ground, for the first six furlongs before swinging out five wide into the stretch and closed well to lose by only six lengths. Much like with Ice Box in the Kentucky Derby, it’s easy to wonder if a better trip might have resulted in a visit to the winner’s circle for Dublin.