Looking Ahead to the Summer Racing Season

Before we look ahead to the summer racing season, let’s look back on what was a very unique Triple Crown, the likes of which we have never seen before.

To kick off the Triple Crown, we saw the first horse in history, Maximum Security, be disqualified in the Kentucky Derby for actions on the track. It’s too late to be this year’s Kentucky Derby, but you can still wager on races from around the world here. While that was the first DQ for interference in the amazing 145-year history of the Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs, a horse named Dancer’s Image was also disqualified in 1968 for a medication violation. And like the owners of Maximum Security, they fought the results in court (Dancer’s Image was originally re-instated as the winner, and then lost again on appeal).

So when Maximum Security was disqualified by the stewards, that made Country House the winner, perhaps setting up a great rematch in the Preakness Stakes. Instead, neither Country House nor Maximum Security went on to Pimlico, and the Preakness will be remembered more for a loose but uninjured horse instead of War of Will winning the race.

That set up a rather anti-climatic conclusion to the Triple Crown with the Belmont Stakes in New York, and Sir Winston came through with a big effort to win the 1 ½-mile race.

The 2019 Triple Crown will be remembered for quite a while, not because we had a Triple Crown winner like we did with American Pharoah and Justify, but rather because of the unique series of events.

So that brings us to the summer racing season, and although Country House and Sir Winston both appear to be out of action for a while, Maximum Security is expected to run with a goal of proving he really was the best 3-year-old this year. His campaign is likely to include the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park, especially because that is trainer Jason Servis’ home track.

Other big summer racing events include the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course and the Pacific Classic at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in California. While the Travers is just for 3-year-olds, the Pacific Classic is open to 3-year-olds and older and is often the first chance that the younger horses will face older foes. That all sets us up for a great conclusion to the season with the Breeders’ Cup Classic to be run at Santa Anita Park. It’s a long time until then, and these coming race should help narrow the field to see who will be crowned a champion at the Breeders’ Cup.