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The excitement of the Triple Crown races is now behind us, and the summer months lie ahead. As fall approaches, racing fans will turn their attention towards the Breeders’ Cup and start to sort out the two-year-olds that could be next year’s Kentucky Derby favorites. That doesn’t mean there isn’t news to follow, as we have seen by the new qualifying point system for the Kentucky Derby that was announced last week. There are always storylines to follow and we’ll look at a few here.

We’ve known since 1973 that Secretariat won the Preakness Stakes. What was not a certainty was the time in which he won the second leg of the Triple Crown. The previous time was recorded as 1:54 2/5, which was just off the record. The timer used for the race in 1973, recorded the finish at 1:55, but was immediately called into question by several individuals who hand-timed the race at under 1:54. Using modern technology, the Maryland Racing Commission was able to prove that Secretariats time was a flat 1:53 and the commission voted 7-0 to change the official time and make Secretariat the fastest horse to complete the Preakness. Forty years later, congratulations go out to Secretariat’s ownership and racing team.

Discussions still continue about the Churchill Downs announcement that they will begin using a point system, rather than earnings, to determine Kentucky Derby participants. D. Wayne Lukas doesn’t seem to be a hardcore detractor of the new system, but still brought up a couple of reasonable points about weighting important races and the reasons behind the change. Lukas said the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile is “the one thing I would probably have put some emphasis on. The Breeders’ Cup is a championship race.” Lukas’ comments also shed light on why these changes were likely implemented; “The (old system) wasn’t very broke, or we wouldn’t be able to go back statistically and show only a few horses wouldn’t make it. I think it’s more of a media marketing tool with the point system, like basketball and football.” {1}

Just thirty minutes after finishing second in the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs last Saturday, Belmont Stakes winning jockey John Velazquez suffered a broken collar bone after being thrown off his ride. Velazquez, who is based out of New York, was in Louisville to ride in the Stephen Foster Stakes. He was aboard the Graham Motion trained Mr. Producer, when the horse broke down in pursuit of the front running Lockout. He was thrown forward, over top of the horse and landed hard. Velazquez was taken to the hospital, where he was treated, kept overnight and released on Sunday. Unfortunately, as so often happens with a leg injury during a race, the horse had to be euthanized. Mr. Producer was a four-year-old that was making his third career start for owner Albert Frassetto.