By My Standards Upsets the Louisiana Derby

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

March 24th, 2019

The trend of upset victories in Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races continued on Saturday when By My Standards produced a big rally up the inside to post a 22-1 upset victory in the $1 million Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds.

At the start of the race, all eyes were won the 4-5 favorite War of Will, who was expected to deliver another easy victory after prevailing in the Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) and Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) earlier in the Fair Grounds meet. But a few strides out of the gate, War of Will’s hind end went out from under him and he took some awkward steps that left him farther off the pace than usual while racing in between horses. From there, he never challenged and retreated to finish ninth, though trainer Mark Casse later revealed that the colt seemed to have strained a muscle at the start, explaining his sub-par showing.

In the meantime, By My Standards was receiving a perfect trip under jockey Gabriel Saez. While the front-running longshot Lemniscate set fractions of :23.63, :47,68, and 1:11.54 with Sueno and Spinoff in close pursuit, By My Standards was tucked along the rail in fourth place, saving ground every step of the way.

Rounding the far turn, the field began to bunch up and Spinoff launched an outside rally to seize the lead at the top of the stretch. From all appearances, the Todd Pletcher-trained colt was on his way to victory, but then By My Standards—circling the tiring Lemniscate before diving back to the inside—unleashed a move of his own. Passing the eighth pole, Spinoff was still a length in front, but By My Standards’ relentless rally carried him to the front and resulted in victory by three-quarters of a length. Sueno stayed on gamely to finish third, while the slow-starting Country House rallied for fourth.

“I think the maiden win was crucial for him,” winning trainer Bret Calhoun told Fair Grounds after the race. “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.”

A timer malfunction resulted in the Louisiana Derby being hand-timed in 1:49.53 seconds, good enough to earn a 97 Beyer speed figure that ranks as the highest assigned to any Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race so far this year. From all appearances, By My Standards is a rapidly-improving colt who might well contend for victory again in the Kentucky Derby six weeks from now.