New Orleans, LA – One year ago, Allied Racing Stable LLC’s By My Standards crossed the wire first in the featured Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) en route to his Kentucky Derby appearance. On Saturday, the now 4-year-old will headline a powerhouse field of nine older horses in the $400,000 New Orleans Classic (G2), to be run over 1 1/8th miles.
Following his eleventh place finish in the 2019 Kentucky Derby (G1) presented by Woodford Reserve (G1), By My Standards was given time off and was not seen for the remainder of his 3-year-old year.
“He was the buzz horse going into the Derby,” trainer Bret Calhoun said. “He ended up coming out of the Derby with a quarter crack and was a little more serious than we expected. We decided to regroup and give him as much time as he needed.”
Making his return to the races in an allowance race at Fair Grounds on February 9, By My Standards sat just off the early pace setters before taking command at the top of the stretch and drawing away impressively to win by an easy 6 lengths. The 4-year-old son of Goldencents looks to have matured not only mentally, but even more so physically.
“When he got back after his foot issue, he was training like he was going to be an even better horse,” Calhoun explained. “He has been a slow developing horse. He was slow to break his maiden. We were always high on him but he just couldn’t put it all together. This year, the way that he has grown up physically, and the way he trains, we think that he has the chance to be one of the top older horses in the country.”
The Calhoun trainee worked a bullet four furlongs on March 14, going the half-mile in: 47.40.
“He’s always been a really good work horse,” Calhoun said. “Believe me, that work was not intended. We were looking to go around: 49.50 or so. That horse just had a phenomenal work and sometimes you see a fast time like that and it looks good but what is more important is how they did it. I would say that work (Saturday) morning was an A plus plus work.”
By My Standards will break from post eight with jockey Gabriel Saez and is listed at 6-1.
Tom Durant’s Silver Dust, who finished second in this race last year, will look to make it back to back wins after defending his title in the Mineshaft Stakes (G3) last time out at Fair Grounds. The 6-year-old son of Tapit is also conditioned by Bret Calhoun.
“I would have preferred to not have to run them against each other,” Calhoun said. “They are both top horses and both can win the race. Both owners obviously deserve to be in there with the talent both horses have. It’s also the right thing to do by the horse moving forward. We think Silver Dust is going to have a long campaign this year and preferred to not have to ship him around this early in the year. This is a good graded stake race with a good purse and its home to him. We’re expecting a big race.”
Silver Dust will break from post six with jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard and is listed at 2-1 on the morning line.
With patience shown throughout the early stages of his career, China Horse Club and Winstar Farm LLC’s Fearless is the “buzz” horse coming into the New Orleans Classic. The lightly raced 4-year-old will look to keep his perfect record alive after an impressive debut sprint at Gulfstream Park on December 22 and an 8 ½ length romp in a first-level allowance route on February 1.
“He’s a really big horse,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “He just was immature and we had him a couple times and had to stop on him for some minor physical setbacks that kind of go along with being such a big horse. He was finally able to put it all together. I thought he was courageous in his debut to win sprinting and then he improved a great deal stretching out, so we’re going right to a stakes. I think he’ll handle the 1 1/8-miles. He has good tactical speed and he seems to be improving a little bit all the time watching him train.”
“I think I would expect him to be forwardly placed in here (the Classic), Pletcher continued. “Certainly, the way he finished last time, it seems like stretching out the extra 16th on Saturday will be to his liking. We’re looking forward to seeing how he handles the step up in class.”
Fearless will break from post three with Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard and is listed on the morning line at 9-2.