It will forever be known as the Kentucky Derby (G1) that turned the horse racing world upside-down. There are still many people voicing their opinion on various social media outlets today, while the debate rages on with each passing hour. However, did the Kentucky Derby (G1) winner even make our #1 star this week? Let’s find out:
1. Bricks and Mortar
For the first time ever the Kentucky Derby winner will not be our number one star of the week on the following Monday. That’s partly because of the controversial finish; however, the performance by Bricks and Mortar had a chance to steal the show on Saturday at Churchill Downs regardless of the Kentucky Derby outcome. Like always, he dropped towards the back of the pack in the Old Forster Turf Classic (G1), before getting room to run on the final turn. Turning for home you could see the horse was loaded to make a giant run down the lane. Qurbaan would not make it easy on him, though, with Bricks and Mortar having to dig down deep to prevail by half a length. The win gives the Chad Brown trainee three straight graded stakes victories, which makes him the top horse in the country heading into the summer months of racing.
When it comes to sprinters, Mitole is the best in the country, after dominating his rivals to take home the Churchill Downs Stakes (G1) last Saturday by a widening 3 1/2-lengths in the end. After stalking the early pace, he patiently waited for jockey Ricardo Santana to ask him to run, responding at the perfect time at the top of the stretch. The Steve Asmussen trained colt has now won 6 straight races, with this latest win being the first Grade 1 victory of his career. After the race Asmussen said the Met Mile (G1) could be next for Mitole. He had no problems stretching out and winning at 7-furlongs, so the 1-mile distance looks well within his realm when he heads to New York.
3. Country House
This article will be all about Country House, with a full break down of the DQ and trip notes coming in a different article later in the week. As for Country House, he was declared the winner, so he is the one that must be recognized when awarding stars of the week. His level of improvement in this race was a bit of a surprised, especially considering he sat much closer to the pace than in any of his previous races. Instead of dropping to the back, Country House sat mid-pack, while still coming with his normal big move on the turn. At the top of the lane it looked as though he was going to win the race without the help of a disqualification; however, Maximum Security dug in after blowing the turn. After a 22 minute wait, Country House got his victory, giving trainer Bill Mott his first Kentucky Derby (G1) triumph. It’s on the the Preakness Stakes (G1) now for the colt, who will look to prove that his big time win was not a fluke.