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A Horse to Watch: By My Standards

By My Standards and Gabriel Saez win Oaklawn Handicap. Horse racing media.
By My Standards and Gabriel Saez winning the Oaklawn Handicap. Coady Photography, provided by Thoroughbred News Service.

By My Standards became a recognizable name in the sport of horse racing the day he conquered the Louisiana Derby (G2) at odds of 22-1. No one knew it at the time, but he had just defeated the future Kentucky Derby winner Country House and Preakness Stakes winner War of Will.

Though By My Standards looked locked and loaded after the Louisiana Derby, he could do no better than 11th in the Kentucky Derby after being squeezed at the break. He came out of the race all banged up with a quarter crack. Though a full-body scan showed no major problems with By My Standards, trainer Bret Calhoun decided that the colt needed some time off.

“I really thought we were a live horse going into the Kentucky Derby,” Calhoun said in a press release. “We were battling a foot, but I think the biggest factor in the Kentucky Derby was the track getting very muddy. He broke a little tardy, lost his position on a speed-biased track with an extreme amount of kickback. It was pretty much race over at the break.”

By My Standards, who was purchased for $150,000 by J. Stevens Bloodstock for Allied Racing at the 2018 OBS Two-Year Olds in Training Sale, was given nine months to rest and relax. The time off seemed to work wonders on the colt, as he was better than ever when he finally did return to the racetrack. He made his 2020 debut a winning one in an Allowance race at Fair Grounds.

His beautiful comeback prompted his connections to enter him into the New Orleans Classic (G2), which was slated to run almost exactly one year after the colt broke his maiden. He again won with ease. The decision was made to ship the son of Goldencents over to Oaklawn Park for the Oaklawn Handicap (G2). There he would be faced with tough horses like Mr. Freeze, Warrior’s Charge, Tacitus, and Combatant. He had never won outside of Louisiana before and trainer Bret Calhoun knew that he needed to break well from the gate in order to win.

By My Standards indeed broke well from the gates and was able to sit close to the pace. He took command at the top of the stretch and dug in to hold off Warrior’s Charge and Mr. Freeze. It was his second Grade 2 victory in a row.

By My Standards will now be on his way back to his birth state of Kentucky. It is there that his stakes winning dam A Jealous Woman (Muqtarib) foaled him for breeder Don Ladd and there that he will compete in the June 27th Stephen Foster (G2).

“We’d like to try to win a Grade I race and that race was downgraded to a Grade 2 last year,” Calhoun said. “But I think it makes sense to stay home, run out of his own stall. I’m in a great spot right now. The horse is fresh, in great form, the timing with the races in the near future look like they’re going to work out for us. Then having the Breeders’ Cup in Kentucky in our own backyard, all that’s very positive for us.”

Only time will tell if By My Standards will be running in the Breeders’ Cup this year, but he is certainly going to be a fun horse to watch this season. “We gave him all the time off he needed and pointed toward his 4-year-old season — which we always thought would be a better year for him, based on Goldencents winning the Breeders’ Cup Mile two years in a row and seemed to get better with age. This horse was a good-sized horse, but still a bit immature (physically). This year he’s filled out, a lot stronger horse, a lot more muscle. I think that’s why he’s sharper from the gate.”

Keep your eyes peeled for this beautiful Kentucky-bred colt. He could just be horse racing's next big thing.

[Video: Watch By My Standards (#12) win the Oaklawn Handicap]


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