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Updated on 04/26/2013 8:52AM
Kentucky Derby: Super Ninety Nine, Den's Legacy will not run
By Jay Privman
Making official what had long been suspected, trainer Bob Baffert on Tuesday told Churchill Downs’s publicity department that both Super Ninety Nine and Den’s Legacy, who had been ranked 18th and 20th, respectively, on the points list for the May 4 Kentucky Derby, would not run.
Though both 3-year-olds were among the top 20 in points, they had not been listed in Daily Racing Form’s Derby Watch top 20, owing to the likelihood they were not going to compete.
Their defections move Charming Kitten and Winning Cause – both trained by Todd Pletcher – into the top 20 among points. Winning Cause, however, is not expected to run, either. Right behind him on the list, currently ranked 21st, is Code West, also trained by Baffert, who has cited the Belmont Stakes as a long-range goal for Code West.
If more than 20 horses enter the Derby, points are used to determine the field, a system put in place this year by Churchill Downs to replace the old system, which used graded stakes earnings.
Money still could come into play, though, because earnings in unrestricted stakes races are used as a tie-breaker to separate horses with equal points. For instance, first place in the $175,000-added Derby Trial on Saturday at Churchill Downs is worth 20 points and at least $108,500 in earnings, which would place the winner above Code West, who has 20 points, but only $90,000 in unrestricted earnings.
Baffert said he decided to officially take both Super Ninety Nine and Den’s Legacy out of consideration for the Derby “after speaking with my owners.” Super Ninety Nine is the first horse owned by Susan Chu, who races as Tanma Corporation. Den’s Legacy is owned by the Westrock Stable of Scott and Joe Ford.
“Based on their recent form, we just didn’t feel they’d be competitive enough to win,” Baffert told Churchill’s publicity department. “They’re both good horses, but we’ll look for something else down the road.
“We realize there are some other horses on the bubble with the hope of running, and we wanted to get this information out as soon as possible to make sure they’d have every opportunity to run and prepare for a start in the Derby.”
As of now, Baffert’s only horse in the top 20 among points is Sunland Derby winner Govenor Charlie, who ranks 11th. He, however, has not had a smooth past fortnight.
Govenor Charlie last worked April 11, when he went a half-mile in 48.20 seconds at Santa Anita, his second work since the March 24 Sunland Derby. After shipping to Kentucky last week, Govenor Charlie was sent to Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington for examination of his right hind foot. Govenor Charlie got a clean bill of health and was at Churchill Downs by Thursday afternoon, but only jogged Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, finally galloping Tuesday. He is not scheduled to work until Monday, Baffert said Tuesday afternoon. Baffert is flying to Kentucky on Thursday.
So, as of now, Govenor Charlie is looking at heading into the Derby with just one work since April 11 following a compromised training schedule, far from ideal for someone like Baffert, who is known for aggressively drilling his Derby horses. He has won the Derby three times.
“When I watch them train, then I’ll know,” Baffert said of Code West and Govenor Charlie. “I’m not in a hurry. They’ll tell me.”
– additional reporting by Mike Welsch
I was against the points sytem at first, but now it makes a lot of sense. Sprinters running the year before should not get in so easilythis year...
Hi! I am beginning to seriously question this new point system for the Kentucky Derby. It appears that some horses should not run in the derby, and just because they have enough points to get in, it doesn't mean they should run afterall. Still deciding which horses to bet on. Thank you! Lise from Maine
I just read on Bloodhorse - that Tiz a Minister is entered in the Snow Chief. BUT if something happens & they move up a couple spots, they still might go to Churchill. Aguirre also said that if he runs well in the Snow Chief - they may wheel him back & run in the Derby if a spot opens up.
Looks like Baffert is out of the Derby altogether which deserves some scrutiny considering how many blue chip youngsters he started with.
If Dreaming runs I believe she can win. This Derby shapes up for a bunch of closers hoping for a fast pace. If memory serves me correctly DOF ran faster than the boys in comparable races and did so virtually wire to wire. HOPE SHE GOES
The field for the Derby doesn't need to be reduced. Owners and trainers need to stop entering and running horses that just don't belong. You didn't have this when the great horses were running because owners didnt run their horse in races they know they couldn't win. Just because your horse accumulates enough points to run in the Derby doesn't mean they belong example Super99 and Den's Legacy. These owners are smart and not letting Derby Fever get to them and this is what the owners who enter horses that do t belong should do too
If only 14 are entered, I wonder if Baffert will shock the world and enter Midnight Lucky in the Derby ? Might be a easier spot than Dreaming of Julia, or dare I say, BOTH FILLYS take a shot ! All of a sudden, the whole racing world is excited !
Code West shouldnt even be under consideration, PERIOD ! Bafferts filly Midnight Lucky blew his doors off in a work the other day, in fact the clockers comment was , "look like he was struggling the entire work " NOT GOOD ! Now, dont go pushing your last bullet into the chamber(Governor Cahrlei) if he isnt 110% ready, and seemingly, he isnt ! Just take the high road, stay out of this one, the bright lights of Kentucky will shine another year !
Amazing. With four, five or six horse fields across the country, there are comments that a smaller Derby field (14) would be better. Better than what? The start of the Derby too rough? Maybe your horse never lost all chance as soon as they rang the bell, so a more compact field seems sensible. And safer. Seattle Slew would have wired a 30 horse field in the Derby but how often would a horse like Java's War get a perfect trip for 5/8ths? Instant Racing probably doesn't involve more than 12 entries. That might help.
I don't think we'll ever see another Triple Crown winner. Horses are more fragile than they used to be. I would like to see the K. Derby at 1 1/8 m, the Preakness 4 weeks later at it's same distance, then 4 weeks later the Belmont at 1 1/4 m. This way you have a natural progression of 1/16 of a mile of each race and these horses get 4 weeks between starts. I'm afraid the well being of our horses will be forever sacrificed to Tradition.
- 1.Posted 12/05/2013 01:44PM
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