TEXAS RED EXITS THE ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY
As the world’s most famous horse racing weekend draws ever closer, it becomes more and more evident why that oh so coveted trip to the winner’s circle beneath the twin spires is so elusive. Powerful as a locomotive yet fragile like blown glass, these four-legged athletes are working towards a run at immortality. Often times, however, the road gets bumpy and a pothole will sideline the top contenders. Such was the case with Texas Red last week as he hit the exit ramp.
Texas Red had finished 2014 with Kentucky Derby written all over him. After winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile with a run bigger than his namesake, this son of Afleet Alex afflicted his followers with a serious case of Derby fever. His strong closing kick seemed suited for glory on the first Saturday in May and his story was magical as well. Trained by Keith Desormeaux and ridden by his brother and three-time Kentucky Derby winner Kent Desormeaux, the $15,000 yearling purchase was another made-for-TV script waiting for the big finish at Churchill Downs. But then the injury bug bit and lost training time caused the Texas Red team to logically remove their runner from Kentucky Derby consideration.
“We just ran out of time to get him ready because of the foot problems,” says owner Erich Brehm. “We were not going to the Derby just to run, we were going to win. Of course it is every horse owner’s dream to run in the Kentucky Derby, but logic told us he could not be at his best because of the time he had to take off. I talked to a lot of people and the consensus was don’t rush him back just to start.”
The Kentucky Derby is of course the pinnacle to the common sports fan, but in reality, much like the Daytona 500, the first Saturday in May is just the beginning of a long and eventful season. As the weather warms, more fans flock to the track and “big” events take place all across the country. The Derby is the opening leg of the Triple Crown series and other million dollar events dot the calendar. Although it is not likely Red will run in either the Preakness or Belmont Stakes, no decision has been made about his future other than the Breeders’ Cup Classic being his year end goal.
“We are not sure what will be up next,” says Brehm. “We have not completely ruled out the other Triple Crown races, but it may be more likely to think about some of the other million dollar races later in the summer and fall. When we looked at the top 10 stallions in Kentucky, none of them won the Kentucky Derby. We want to think long-term with this horse because we think he can be special both on the track and off it as well. He needs some time to get ready and when the time comes he will be back at the track and hopefully winning races.”