• The week’s significant milestones
100 Man o’War
USA: The Preakness Stakes may have been postponed until October 3 for 2020 but this year nevertheless represents a significant anniversary for the second leg of the Triple Crown since it was 100 years ago that the great Man o’War won the 1920 edition on May 18.
So began an epic three-year-old campaign that would encompass 11 straight victories, among them five track records at distances from a mile to 1m5f (the distance at which he won the Lawrence Realization by 100 lengths at Belmont in September).
The decision to start Man o’War off in the Preakness shows how the Kentucky Derby wasn’t quite the race back then that it is now. Indeed, the first Triple Crown had been completed in 1919 by Sir Barton, but nobody knew it was a ‘triple crown’ as there is no record of the term being used in US racing until 1923 and it wasn’t popularised until Gallant Fox did the deed in 1930.
Moreover, missing Churchill Downs did not exactly hurt the legendary horse’s reputation: he was named No.1, above Secretariat, in the Blood-Horse’s list of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th Century.
He also settled a historic score at Pimlico, as the horse beaten a length and a half into second was none other than Upset, the appropriately named animal who had inflicted Man o’War’s sole career defeat in 21 starts at Saratoga as a two-year-old.
6 Flavien Prat
USA: California-based Flavien Prat was intent on making up for lost time after racing resumed at Santa Anita over the weekend, riding a six-timer on Sunday’s card highlighted by the G3 victory of star filly Bellafina in the Desert Stormer.
“It was one of those days when everything you do is right,” said Prat, 27, who leads the Santa Anita jockey standings by 13 from Abel Cedillo. “It’s so good to be back racing here and I rode good horses all weekend.”
It was the first time since Rafael Bejarano in April 2006 that a jockey had ridden six winners on a single card at the ‘Great Race Place’, where the feat has been achieved 12 times altogether, starting with Bill Shoemaker in 1932, Others to have achieved the feat are Laffit Pincay (twice), Sandy Hawley (twice), Darrel McHargue (twice), Steve Valdez, Patrick Valenzuela, Martin Pedroza and Corey Nakatani.
Only Pincay has ever won seven races on a single card at Santa Anita, on March 14, 1987.
7 Almond Eye
Japan: No horse under the aegis of the Japan Racing Association has ever won eight G1 events on turf but adoring jockey Christophe Lemaire made that sound like a formality after the superstar mare sauntered to her seventh top-level success in the Victoria Mile at Tokyo racecourse on Sunday [May 17].
Almond Eye joins an elite band on seven G1 wins, namely Symboli Rudolf, T.M. Opera O, Deep Impact, Vodka, Gentildonna and Kitasan Black. Reigning Japanese champion jockey Lemaire has won 30 G1s on the JRA circuit.
10 Johnny Allen
Australia: Seven days after his ninth G1 win aboard Russian Camelot in the South Australian Derby, former Irish jump jockey Johnny Allen moved into double figures at the top level when he partnered Trekking to win the Goodwood at Morphettville on Saturday [May 16].
Allen, who won the Pierse Hurdle at Leopardstown in 2004 on Dromlease Express, is among several Victorian-based jockeys who underwent two weeks’ quarantine to ride at the Adelaide Carnival.
Trekking was trained by James Cummings for Godolphin, who have had four G1 winners so far in this coronavirus-affected year, with the Goodwood winner preceded by Barney Roy (Jebel Hatta) in Dubai plus Bivouac (Newmarket Handicap), Colette (Australian Oaks).