A year ago this week, Chestertown joined the fold as the most expensive sale purchase in West Point Thoroughbreds’ history, topping the OBS March sale. On Saturday, he will tackle the $1-million Louisiana Derby, the biggest qualifying race thus far on the 2020 prep schedule for the Kentucky Derby.
Of course, the Road to the Kentucky Derby has been extended significantly, with the Run for the Roses pushed back to September due to the coronavirus outbreak. That may turn out to be a blessing for Chestertown, who will make his stakes debut in his fifth career start Saturday and has been steadily improving with experience.
Hall of Famer John Velazquez will take the reins for the first time, seeking his third career victory in the Louisiana Derby. Trainer and fellow Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen will be pursuing his fourth Louisiana Derby triumph.
The conditions will be a little different this year, with the distance increased by a sixteenth of a mile to 9 1/2 furlongs. It is another change that Chestertown, who had an unlucky trip and galloped out in front after a third-place finish in an allowance last time, figures to appreciate.