Improbable likely to lose the blinkers in 2019 Kentucky Derby

Oaklawn Barn Notes
April 14, 2019 03:30pm
Improbable likely to lose the blinkers in 2019 Kentucky Derby
Photo: Coady Photography

Trainer Bob Baffert said immediately following the Arkansas Derby (G1) that Improbable would be pointed for the 2019 Kentucky Derby.

After finishing second in the first division of the Rebel – the City Zip colt’s first career loss – Improbable was wound up in the Arkansas Derby post parade and antsy in the starting gate, having to be backed out after initially loading into stall No. 11. He still finished a strong second to Omaha Beach, as it was 5 ¾ lengths back to third-place finisher Country House.

“I thought he had to run first or second to have a chance, so it puts him right there in the mix,” Baffert said. “It’s a wide-open Derby this year. I just feel thankful. It could have been disastrous. Really had some anxious moments there.

"I think he ran a great race and he’s going to improve off this. I’ve been bringing him along, getting him ready by running him and so he’ll move forward off of it.”

Improbable raced in blinkers for the first time Saturday. The equipment change, Baffert said, didn’t help.

“I don’t think he needs the blinkers,” Baffert said. “I think they got him a little upset. That’s probably why he acted up in the gate.”

Baffert, who also trains the 1-2 Santa Anita Derby (G1) finishers Roadster and Game Winner, is seeking his record-tying sixth Kentucky Derby win.

"I had some anxious moments," said told Santa Anita's publicity staff of Improbable on Sunday morning, "but was pretty relieved that we ran second, got in the Derby and learned some things about the horse.

“He does have gears, took dirt for the first time and hung in there after getting upset in the gate. I’m not sure if it was the blinkers, because I noticed in the post parade he was rubbing his head, just being a little anxious.

“But he was fresh, because I’ve just been running him into shape. I haven’t really tightened the screws. I wanted the races to do that, and he got beat by a very good horse."


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