Violette Responds to Florida Derby Non-Inquiry
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., March 28, 2015—Just received a text response from Upstart's trainer, Rick Violette, concerning the stretch incident in Saturday's Florida Derby. In mid-stretch, the winning Materiality came out beneath left-handed urging from Johnny Velazquez and into the path of Upstart, forcing Jose Ortiz to steady his mount.
No head-on replay was shown at the track following the race.
It is extremely unlikely that the incident cost Upstart the win. That, however, is not the point. The Gulfstream Park outrider, whose job it is to signal the stewards should a jockey want to lodge a foul claim, signaled the "all clear" to the officials before Ortiz had a chance to lodge an objection. When he reached the outrider, he was told it was "too late."
With or without the rider's objection, the stewards were obliged to lodge an inquiry of their own. There certainly was enough there to indicate to the connections and the public that the officials actually witnessed the stretch run of Gulfstream's signature event.
Of course, Upstart was the horse disqualified from first in the Fountain of Youth Stakes. It was a controversial call which, for the record, then and now, we thought to be correct. In our view, Saturday's non-decision decision would have been correct, too--again, not the issue.
Once more, incidents like these show how racing's officiating process in deeply flawed yet there remains no transparency in stewards stands throughout the U.S.
Violette's text message: "[The decision] turned quick official into rush-to-go-home official. Did an injustice to the horse, the owner, and the betting public. Regardless of the ultimate decision, robbed the connections of any revue. There was contact and for the stewards not to put up the inquiry on their own underscores the depth of their inconsistency. To call it official after it was clearly heard on the companies [sic] walkie talkies underlines their lack of competence."
International Star Sweeps; Birdatthewire Impressive in Gulfstream Oaks
He’s not the fastest and not the flashiest three year old of 2015 but who can argue that International Star is neck and neck the grittiest member of his generation.
In gamely beat Stanford--who Materiality made look like a second tier three year old in the Islamorada at Gulfstream only to prove that assessment inaccurate in Saturday’s Louisiana Derby—International Start proved that he carries guns into knife fights.
He just won’t let you finish in front of him.
His praises were being sung long before Saturday because of his uncommon versatility as to distance, style and surface preferences while beating you inside, outside, doing whatever it takes. On Saturday, he did a little of everything.
This Weekend, Racing Takes the World Stage
HALLANDALE BEACH, March 27, 2015—Unless Dubai Sky turns out to be the second coming of Animal Kingdom, the 2015 Kentucky Derby winner will race in the next 15 days.
This is that time in the prep season when the scores can really change, figuratively and literally—when it comes to qualifying Derby-entrance points.
Down Louisiana way, International Star, the horse with the winning ways who lights a raging fire under no one, is a 3-1 favorite to sweep the Fair Grounds three-race series of the Lecomte, Risen Star and tomorrow’s Louisiana Derby.
His versatile attributes have been well documented and his outside #9 slip will make him no less formidable on the day.
Once again, he will have War Story (4-1) to beat, the colt that continues to train lights out and will have a new passenger in Joe Talamo, as Kent Desormeaux switches or was pushed off War Story, the rider leaving that runner with too much to do in the Risen Star.
Of perhaps it was Wayne Lukas who invited him to rider Mr. Z (4-1), who removes blinkers but adds Desormeaux, after getting out of Hot Springs town to join the cast in New Orleans.
It was, in Lukas’ opinion, either the quirky hard-hitter will prefer the Fair Grounds surface to Oaklawn Park’s, or he’s getting out of Dodge before American Pharoah returns two weekends from now for the Arkansas Derby. Either seems prudent.