Saturday, May 5, 2018

Justify Wins Kentucky Derby; Saxon Warrior Wins English 2,000 Guineas

The first races in both the American and British Triple Crowns were run today.  At Newmarket, in England, the 2,000 Guineas, contested at a mile on the turf, saw trainer Aidan O'Brien take his ninth victory, with Saxon Warrior.  Saxon Warrior is a bay colt by Deep Impact, and out of the Galileo mare Maybe.  Aidan O'Brien's 19-year-old son Donnacha was the jockey, while O'Brien himself was at Churchill Downs with Mendelssohn for the Kentucky Derby.  Saxon Warrior set off at odds of  3 to 1, and ran the mile over a course rated "good" in 1:36.55.  Tip To Win, a 50 to 1 long-shot, was second with Masar in third.

  In Kentucky, three inches of rain fell before the Derby and fell throughout the race.  A full starting gate of 20 colts broke nicely while a crowd of 157,813 watched. The 5 to 2 betting favorite was Justify, a chestnut son of Scat Daddy out of the mare Stage Magic.  Justify is trained by Bob Baffert, and was under the guidance of veteran jockey Mike Smith.  Justify had never raced on a sloppy track, but several other colts in the race had, and those boys had won by impressive margins.  Smith rode Justify out of the gate in a hurry, and settled about 8 paths out from the rail, with Promises Fulfilled in the lead close to the rail.  The first quarter and half-miles were run in jaw-dropping times for a sloppy track - 22.24 seconds for the first quarter, and 45.77 for the half-mile.   
   But Justify just cruised on.  He won the race in 2:04.20 - and without a speck of mud on his face or chest.  This made the fifth Kentucky Derby win for Bob Baffert, and the second for Mike Smith.  Good Magic tried to press Justify at the top of the stretch, under the whip, while Smith just sat still on Justify and pulled away.  Good Magic finished second, with Audible third, Instilled Regard fourth and My Boy Jack in fifth.  And Justify broke to so-called "Apollo curse" when he won the Derby today, becoming the first horse that did not race as a two-year-old in 136 years to win the first leg of America's Triple Crown.
   For a $2 win ticket on Justify, the return was $7.80; for a $2 place bet on Good Magic, one received $9.20; for a $2 show wager on Audible, the payout was $5.80.  Return on a $2 exacta bet was $69.60; on a $1 trifecta it was $141.40; and on a $1 superfecta, the return was $19,618.20.
The full order of finish follows:
1.     Justify     by 2 1/2 lengths
2.     Good Magic  by a nose
3.     Audible   by 2 lengths
4.     Instilled Regard
5.     My Boy Jack
6.     Bravazo
7.     Hofburg
8.     Lone Sailor
9.     Vino Rosso
10.   Solomini
11.   Firenze Fire
12.   Bolt d'Oro
13.   Flameaway
14.   Enticed
15.   Promises Fulfilled
16.   Free Drop Billy
17.   Noble Indy
18.   Combatant
19.   Magnum Moon
20.   Mendelssohn    (Aidan O'Brien's entry)

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