Letter From The President - May
May is here, and the eyes of the sporting world shift toward horse racing. I am writing this letter from my hotel in Louisville. It's Kentucky Derby week at Churchill Downs, and the way you feel these few days is unlike any you'll ever experience. The electricity on the backstretch is incredible, and the tension builds to an almost unfathomable level leading up to Saturday. Hearing the strains of "My Old Kentucky Home" against the backdrop of 150,000 fans will make even the most stoic person a little misty-eyed.
The experience is especially surreal when you run a horse in the Derby. We lived it two years ago, and we came within a whisker of experiencing it again this year. El Gato Malo was excluded from the race when more than twenty horses entered. We were just one photo finish away from qualifying for the race, so to be so close without getting in is disappointing. We really believe that El Gato Malo is one of the twenty best three-year-olds in the country, but making the Derby field requires a combination of factors including luck. We hope that our luck turns around in the Preakness and that El Gato Malo can play spoiler in the second leg of the Triple Crown. I am sure that very few people would root for us if the Derby winner runs in the Preakness, but El Gato Malo deserves his chance in a Triple Crown race.
While we will not run on Saturday, Derby week has already been a whirlwind of activity for the stable. Last weekend, Macho Again scored a thrilling victory in the Derby Trial. Macho Again is a very talented colt, and it was a real treat to see him confirm that in a race with multiple graded stakes winners. Dallas Stewart has done a wonderful job bringing Macho Again along, and now the sky appears to be the limit. We will take a hard look at all of our options for him. I think you'll hear his name a lot more over the summer.
Before we look too far ahead, Lear's Princess is set for the Louisville Stakes(G2) on Kentucky Oaks day. Oaks Friday has a very different, more intimate feel than the Derby, but the racing is fantastic. Lear's Princess will look to turn the tables on Eclipse award winner Ginger Punch. When you take away the Princess' two races over a wet track, her track record has been stellar. She's doing great and we hope for a big performance from her. Kiaran, the Partners and I have been paying homage to the weather gods this week. We want to see a fast track on Friday.
While May promises to offer a lot of excitement, April's highlights included our annual Partner galas in Ocala and California. These events get bigger each year, and the feedback we receive from the attendees is tremendous. Everyone really seems to appreciate the opportunity to get together and share stories with the West Point Thoroughbreds team while getting the first, close-up look at the new two-year-olds.
As I bring this month's letter to a close, I wish the West Point Thoroughbreds community and all racing fans the best of luck with their Derby picks this week. If you're not planning a trip to Louisville, then I hope you have a day at the track or a Derby party planned. There's nothing better than the first Saturday in May. I can hear the band warming up "My Old Kentucky Home". The time is drawing near.
Until next month...