Superb by Any Standard, By My Standard Takes Oaklawn Handicap

May 3, 2020

Spendthrift Farm’s Goldencents continues to set a standard as a sire with graded stakes winners as his son, By My Standard, dug in to win the $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) at Oaklawn Park Saturday. The 4-year-old colt showed his merit in the heavily-seasoned field of older runners. 

Breaking sharply from post 12 under Gabriel Saez at 9/2 odds, By My Standards hustled to clear conteders along the inside before entering the clubhouse turn just two-wide outside of the rail-drawn Chess Chief. Ahead, Warrior’s Charge posted brisk opening fractions of :23.02, :46.91, and 1:10.67 under Florent Geroux.

“The 12 hole might not have been ideal, but he overcame it,” Calhoun said. “Gabe did a great job of getting position in the first turn. You didn’t want to be overconfident at that point and time, but I found myself feeling pretty comfortable early in the race, once he got that position away from the gate.”

Ranging up to challenge Warrior’s Charge in the far turn, By My Standards straightened for home at the pacesetter’s throat latch. Though Warrior’s Charge fought valiantly along the inside, By My Standards was able to pull ahead slightly by the 1/16 pole. Once he established a lead, By My Standards soon pulled away from his stalwart competitor. 

“I talked to Bret this morning and he didn’t give me much instructions,” Saez said. “Told me to just get the job done. It was a tremendous performance by him. He broke sharp and put me right in the race where I wanted to be. I wanted to stalked the leaders. Around the backstretch, I was kind of cruising behind the ones in front of me and just waited for the right moment to make my move. When I asked him, he really responded. He got the job done.”

The winner hit the wire in 1:47.80 on a fast track and finished 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Warrior’s Charge in second. Mr Freeze was another half-length back in third. Tacitus, Tax, Captivating Moon, Sky Promise, Chess Chief, Night Ops, Combatant, Bravazo, Identifier, and Trophy Chaser completed the order of finish. 

Grade 1 winner Improbable, who drew post 14 after finishing second in the April 11 Oaklawn Mile Stakes from the outside post, was scratched. Trainer Bob Baffert stated the reason for the scratch was post draw. Improbable is pointed towards the 1 1/4-mile Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) June 6.

By My Standards returned $11 to win, $6.40 to place, and $4.20 to show. Warrior’s Charge brought back $7.40 to place and $4.60 to show, while Mr Freeze paid $3.40 to show.

“He stepped up against a great field of horses,” said Calhoun. “Lot of depth in it. He just kind of confirmed what we’ve been thinking of him. It’s nice for him to prove it on the racetrack.”

By My Standard winning Oaklawn Handicap

“He ran good,” said Warrior’s Charge jockey Florent Geroux. “It wasn’t like we were the only speed. They were fair fractions. Not suicidal by any means. My horse had a long time between races and I think he got a little tired. He was also stretching out to 1 1/8, which is a question for him. It was a great race. Tough field and he showed up.”

By My Standards’ win was his third straight and the first of his career outside the state of Louisiana, having won the New Orleans Classic Stakes (G2) an allowance/optional claiming event earlier this year. The bay colt now carries a career record of 9-5-2-1 with $1,281,910 earned.

When deciding to send By My Standards to the Oaklawn Handicap, trainer Bret Calhoun said it was with hopes of seeing the colt blossom into one of the nation’s top older horses.

“He’s growing every time and he’s getting better and better,” Saez said. “I talked to Bret this morning. He doesn’t give much instructions — just try to get into a good position and get the job done. ‘Gabe, you know what to do, and you’ve been on him most of the time. 

“I didn’t really think it would be a problem (winning outside Louisiana), but until you do it, you don’t know,” Calhoun added. “He’d never run on that track, he’d never shipped and run. I understand what the public might be have been thinking, but they don’t have the opportunity to know exactly what we know.”

Away for more than half of his 3-year-old season following an 11th-place run in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1), By My Standards returned Feb. 9 to win an allowance-level race at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, the site of his 2019 Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) score. He won the March 21 New Orleans Classic Stakes (G2) before shipping to Oaklawn Park for the first time.

“I didn’t really think it would be a problem (winning outside Louisiana), but until you do it, you don’t know,” Calhoun added. “He’d never run on that track, he’d never shipped and run. I understand what the public might be have been thinking, but they don’t have the opportunity to know exactly what we know.”

Warrior’s Charge, who also went to the sidelines for a lengthy stretch after finishing fourth in the G1 Preakness in 2019, was coming off back-to-back front-running wins in an allowance race and the G3 Razorback Handicap — both at Oaklawn in his two starts of 2020.

By My Standards was bred in Kentucky by Don Ladd and is the second foal out of the stakes-winning Muqtarib mare A Jealous Woman. His dam foaled a Runhappy colt in 2019.

The colt was purchased by J. Stevens Bloodstock, agent for Chester Thomas’ Allied Racing Stable, for $150,000 from Scanlon Training and Sales’ consignment to the 2018 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training. The Oaklawn Handicap victory pushed his earnings to $1,281,910, compiled from a 5-2-1 record in nine starts.

Watch a replay of the Oaklawn Handicap here:

Past The Wire Staff

Gabriel Saez and By My Standard

 

Photo: Gabriel Saez giving By My Standard a grateful embrace after the win. Credit: Coady Photography 

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