LOUISVILLE, KY – Multiple graded stakes winners By My Standards and Tom’s D’Etat, two of the nation’s top older male dirt horses, are returning to the freshly-returned Churchill Downs backside as they train toward big summer events across the country.
By My Standards has not lost in three starts this year, including the New Orleans Classic Stakes (G2) and the Oaklawn Handicap (G2). Prior to making his 2020 debut in a February allowance event, the 4-year-old Goldencents colt had gone unraced since finishing 11th in the Kentucky Derby (G1), an event that marks his only defeat since breaking his maiden.
“Couldn’t be happier, couldn’t be prouder, couldn’t be more relieved,” owner Chester Thomas, who runs as Allied Racing Stable, said after the Oaklawn Handicap. “A lot of horses exit the Kentucky Derby and never win another race in their career. By My Standards had a quarter crack (common hoof problem), was all banged-up from being in the race. Give (trainer) Bret Calhoun credit. He knew the horse was just a tick off. We did a full body scan on him, identified a couple of things that lit up, nothing major, and determined he just needed some good time off.”
By My Standards is expected to make his next start here in the Stephen Foster Stakes (G2) on June 27. Purchased for $150,000 as a juvenile, he has now earned $1,281,910 while posting a record of 9-5-2-1.
“We think our horse deserves and fits very well in the top echelon of racehorses,” Thomas said. “He’s starting to show he’s what we thought he’d be last year. We gave him plenty of time and gave him an opportunity to be all that he can be.”
Tom’s d’Etat is also riding a three-win heater, though his dates back slightly longer. The Al Stall, Jr., trainee kicked things off by winning last October’s Hagyard Fayette Stakes (G2) at Keeneland before earning his first Grade 1 score in the Clark Stakes at Churchill Downs.
Given the winter off, Tom’s d’Etat returned on April 11 to win the Oaklawn Mile Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Though now 7, the son of Smart Strike has been lightly-raced throughout his career, compiling a record of 17-10-2-1 with $1,326,572 earned for owner G M B Racing.
“He’s actually better because he’s had a regular career for the past two years now,” said Stall, Jr. “His time off this winter at the Fair Grounds was just a plain old freshening. We really thought he’d run a good race off the bench, which he does anyway.”
Tom’s d’Etat could ship west for the Gold Cup at Santa Anita Stakes (G1), a 1 1/4-mile classic dirt race at Santa Anita Park on June 6. That would give him a second start under his belt before potentially facing By My Standards in the Stephen Foster three weeks later.
“I don’t think it’s fair to the horse to go in off a short-stretch mile race against a horse like By My Standards, who has had three good, strong two-turn races so far,” said Stall, Jr. “I’m not sure what to do. If I’d known (the pandemic) was going to happen, I might have run in the Oaklawn Handicap, but … I missed entries. Same thing happened in the New Orleans Classic, with Keeneland canceling after those entries closed. The Alysheba (at Churchill Downs on the May 1 Kentucky Oaks [G1] card) could have been a back-up race and got canceled.”