Commanding Curve 2nd in Kentucky Derby
20 West Point Thoroughbreds Partners realized their dream of running a horse in the Kentucky Derby, and came pretty darn close to winning the roses. After having only one horse beat at first call, Commanding Curve rallied from off the pace to finish second to California Chrome in the 140th Kentucky Derby.
For the second straight year, trainer Dallas Stewart’s longshot completed the exacta. In 2013 Golden Soul went off at odds of 34-1 and this year Commanding Curve was dispatched at 37-1.
“All I had to do was ride him hard, and he gave me everything,” jockey Shaun Bridgmohan said. “Once I got him down the lane, man, he lengthened his stride and really dug in for me.”
Bridgmohan piloted the son of Master Command brilliantly, staying patient while as many as 12 lengths behind moderate early fractions. After avoiding major traffic trouble, he was forced eight wide at the top of the lane before closing steadily on California Chrome. Commanding Curve was the only horse making any significant headway on the winner.
"I wish I was out there (in the winner's circle), but you know, hey, I thank God for everything the way it is, and that's what keeps us going for next year," said an ebullient Stewart afterward. "I'm very proud of him."
Partners and their families created memories that will last a lifetime -- from the Derby build up to the walkover, post parade, to the race itself. “I’ve heard from several Partners that finishing second in the Kentucky Derby was an out of body experience,” said West Point EVP Jeff Lifson. “There was nothing like turning for home and seeing him gobbling up ground. I’m absolutely thrilled for our clients -- they own a special horse.”
Dallas Stewart and WPT president Terry Finley have been working together for over 20 years and know how special it is to have a horse like this in the barn. After careful consideration the duo has decided to point Commanding Curve for the June 7 Belmont Stakes, the final jewel of the Triple Crown.
“We’re extremely comfortable skipping the Preakness and taking dead aim on the Belmont,” said Finley. “Bottom line is it suits our horse’s strengths. In most Derbys the move he made on the turn gets the job done, but we ran into a superstar in the making in California Chrome. He’s a very talented horse and we’re thrilled for his connections, but we’re ready for a rematch in the Empire State.”
“One of the reasons, I love training for Terry is there’s never any pressure,” said Stewart. “We talk things through and strategize, but at the end of the day he gives me the latitude to let the horse tell us where to run. We’re a great team.”