Horse Racing

Connect Take the complex Derby journey with Messier

The road to the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) is rarely an easy one.

However for Messier it was an unusually chaotic journey.

Though he has been widely regarded as one of the top 3-year-olds since his dominant win in the February 6 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) match at Santa Anita . ParkEmpire Maker colt failed to secure his spot in the May 7 opening of the Triple Crown until the last minute when he finished second on April 9 in the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby (G1) to collect your first qualifying batch of points and get into a safe spot on the Leaderboard for the classic 20 horse game at Churchill Downs.

“It wasn’t the greatest experience, but now it’s behind us and it’s been fixed so the excitement can start to build,” said Sol Kumin, head of Madaket Stables.

Messier, who is 16th in points through April 16, is one of only two likely to start the Kentucky Derby, who had been previously coached by Bob Baffert and failed to qualify for the Kentucky Derby points due to Churchill Downs Inc.’s two-year ban. The coach, after winning the 2021 Run for the Roses, Medina Spirit failed a post-race drug test and was ultimately stripped of that victory at the end of February.

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As a result of the suspension, Baffert-trained horses were ineligible for Kentucky Derby points even though they could compete for qualifying spots on non-CDI tracks. As a result, the 10 qualifying points that would normally have been awarded to Messier for a losing 15-game win over Lewis have been left empty — as well as 4 points from a second at Los Alamitos Futurity (G2).

In late March, when Baffert’s hopes of overturning the CDI ban or the April 4 start of the 90-day suspension imposed by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission had vanished, Messier was among the horses from the group. His ownership passed to coach Tim Yakteen. That has made the half-born Ontario son of Smart Strike mare Checkered Past qualified for the Kentucky Derby qualifying points and the 40 points he amassed by finishing second in the Santa Anita Derby earned him a spot in the famous race and America’s most coveted.

“We try to own these horses intelligently and thoughtfully for the financial, but we do this also for fun,” says Kumin. “So going through all of the movie took away some of the fun for us. Obviously what we went through wasn’t nearly as bad as what Bob went through. We care about that. he’s a human being and we have huge respect for him as a coach, so I feel bad for him, but it’s been less fun for a while.”

Sol Kumin stands in his dining room at his home, adjacent to the Oklahoma Training Center on August 14, 2020 in Saratoga Springs, NY
Photo: Skip Dickstein

Sol Kumin at his home in Saratoga Springs, NY

Messier is owned by a large group led by SF Racing, Starlight Racing and Madaket Stables. Jack Wolf, managing partner of Starlight Racing, agrees with Kumin that the stress and uncertainty of winter has finally given way to a sense of familiarity.

“Everybody in the Starlights would love to go to the Kentucky Derby if we had a good horse, but we don’t know how the legal issues will unfold and the horses will move on to new trainers like It’s hard that we didn’t know what was going to happen,” said Wolf. “I would say our attention was diverted over the winter and I feel bad for what Bob went through. Didn’t have much fun until after the Santa Anita Derby, but now I am. got back to business as usual and enjoyed a horse in the Kentucky Derby. Tom Ryan (of SF Racing) did most of the work handling everything for us and I appreciate that.”

Although Messier’s ownership group also includes Robert Masterson, Jay Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital, Catherine Donovan, Golconda Stable and Siena Farm, his purchase for $470,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Selected Annual Show 2020 is part of about 20 annuities purchased through SF, Starlight and Madaket’s resource and funding pool and sent to Baffert.

It marks the third venture of the trilogy dubbed “The Avengers.” With Baffert training the horses, they not only achieved a home run but also a big walkoff with the first group, accumulating a total value and income of more than $50 million, led by winner of the Kentucky Derby and Longines Breeders ‘Cup (G1) 2020 and Horse of the Year Real . He was one of three class 1 winners from that pack of horses who secured a stallion deal, a trio also included Quack and Eight Rings . The second group did not turn a profit and Messier promises to play an important role in determining the fortunes of the third group.

While Messier finished second in the Santa Anita Derby, the race produced 19 Kentucky Derby winners with the most recent official winner being the aforementioned Authentic, who also finished second in lap 1/ 8 miles of preparation.

Wolf said: “We are disappointed to lose, but there is no shame in finishing second in the Santa Anita Derby.

Jack Wolf poses for a photo before Justify wins the Belmont Stakes and Triple Crown on Saturday, June 9, 2018 in Elmont, New York
Photo: Barry Williams

Jack Wolf at Belmont Park

Messier, starting for the first time in two months, is second choice 6-5 vs Forbidden Kingdom in the Santa Anita Derby and pressed a quick even money selection. While the Forbidden Kingdom’s waning stretch of time with breathing problems sent him flying off the Triple Crown trail, Messier forged ahead but couldn’t brush off the late rally from Zedan Racing Stables’ Taiba Another talented 3-year-old boy was transferred from Baffert to Yakteen and won by 2 1/4.

“There are a few others who deserve shorter odds than Messier, but I believe he can win,” Kumin said of the Kentucky Derby. “I would put him in the top five or six. He worked really hard after the Santa Anita Derby while resting for eight weeks but it was a really good race. (Jockey John Velazquez) said he really trained. focused on not letting the Forbidden Kingdom get away and he might have been surprised with how Taiba ran. top group of horses.”

Ryan repeated the belief that the winner of 3 out of 6 starts and the one who made $435,600 turned in a “huge” attempt.

“It was a great performance with 62 days between races. The foundation is there, and it seems very mature and mentally and physically mature,” Ryan said of a pony led by Nong. Sam Son breeding farm.

Tom Ryan <br /> Keeneland September Sale from September 7 to September 23, 2018. September 14, 2018 Stonestreet in Lexington, Kentucky.  ” src=”” style=”border-width: 0px;” title=”Tom Ryan <br /> Keeneland September Sale from September 7 to September 23, 2018. September 14, 2018 Stonestreet in Lexington, Kentucky. “/><figcaption><small>Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt</small></p>
<p>Tom Ryan at Keeneland</p>
<p>Starlight and Madaket won the Kentucky Derby twice when they bought the racing rights to Justify ahead of his 2018 Triple Crown win for Baffert.  This time, however, instead of relying on Baffert, their horse will be driven by Yakteen, who served as Baffert’s assistant for Run for the Roses victories thanks to Silver Charm, Real Quiet and War Emblem but in Messier and Taiba will make their first appearance at the Kentucky Derby starting in 18 years as coaches.</p>
<p>Judging by the 1-2 finish in the Santa Anita Derby, the possibility of an early return is quite promising for Yakteen.</p>
<p>Wolf said: “Tim is a good trainer, he knows the horse well and did a great job last weekend considering all the pressure he faces.</p>
<p>As the first Saturday of May draws nearer, while some important things have changed and the road to Churchill has more twists than ever, there’s also a piece of Messier’s story going back too recent past for successful owners.  Specifically, it’s the confidence that their 3-year-old has the ability to put in a strong effort on the sport’s biggest stage.</p>
<p>“We are very excited,” Ryan said.  “Messier had a great role model in the Derby. I think his performance with a Beyer 99 (Speed ​​figure) and combined with his previous race, the Ragozin figure (about 8) speaks for itself.” he blends in with Tim.”</p>
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