Thomas 'enjoying the ride' with Mr. Money, By My Standards

June 26, 2019 02:46pm

A pair of 3-year-old colts are making 2019 both a memorable and lucrative year for owner Chester Thomas.

Bret Calhoun trainees By My Standards and Mr. Money have combined since March to earn Thomas’ Allied Racing Stable LLC its first three graded stakes wins.

By My Standards scored a Grade 2 triumph March 23 in Fair Grounds’ Louisiana Derby. Then fellow Goldencents son Mr. Money struck for Grade 3 wins in the Pat Day Mile on Kentucky Derby day and again June 15 in the Matt Winn Stakes, both at Churchill Downs.

“How did I end up with two nice horses?" 
Thomas wondered aloud last week at Ellis Park. "I don’t know, luck is a good thing. We’re just enjoying the ride. Hopefully both continue to do well.”

By My Standards ($630,310) and Mr. Money ($340,820) have combined this year to earn just short of $1 million, leading the way for Thomas' Allied Racing Stable, which sports $1,370,081 in purse money over 64 starters, including 17 winners, in 2019.

Thomas’ previous high-water marks came in 2018, when 129 starters combined for 18 victories and $669,760.

“I want to wake up and pinch myself and make sure it’s still true,” said Thomas, whose operation first campaigned Thoroughbreds in 2012. “But it’s nice. We’re blessed to have two nice horses.”

The Madisonville, Ky., native Thomas has struck big working with Calhoun in what the trainer said is a relatively new partnership.

“Chester’s only been with me for a little over a year now, actually,” said Calhoun, whose resume includes two 2010 Breeders’ Cup wins. “It was just an accidental meeting at the races. He was coming to the Fair Grounds to watch one of his horses run. Kind of in passing said hi – reached out to me.

“His operation was growing. He had a couple of trainers and was looking for a place to spread out even more. He contacted me, and we got together the year before last – at the end of the meet at Fair Grounds. We moved to Kentucky – back to Churchill – and one of the first horses I got from him was By My Standards.”

By My Standards broke his maiden Feb. 16 at Fair Grounds, then returned a month later for the Louisiana Derby, the track’s $1 million Kentucky Derby prep.

He scored at 23-1 odds, defeating a loaded group that included eventual Grade 1 winners Country House, Hog Creek Hustle and War of Will, plus stablemate Mr. Money.

The Kentucky Derby was a struggle for By My Standards. He broke slowly, bumped with Game Winner at the half-mile marker and never mounted a rally over the slop at Churchill Downs. He crossed the wire 12th
, then was elevated to 11th following Maximum Security’s disqualification.

Even with a disappointing finish, Thomas looked back fondly on his first time entering a Kentucky Derby starter.

“Just the whole experience is something you’ll always remember,” Thomas said. “It’s kind of like winning the lottery.”

By My Standards is currently on a break from training, with Calhoun saying the colt exited a recent workout favoring “a tender foot.” Connections hope he’ll return to action later this summer.

While By My Standards is resting up, Mr. Money is charging on with a two-race win streak. The colt has found his form after missing the Fair Grounds board in both the Louisiana Derby and Risen Star (G2).

Mr. Money backed up his 3-5 odds earlier this month when he cruised to a 6 ½-length score over Signalman in the $150,000 Matt Winn. That followed a 5 ¼-length romp over Woody Stephens Stakes (G1) hero Hog Creek Hustle on Kentucky Derby day in the $400,000 Pat Day Mile.

Mr. Money will look to make it three in a row in his next start. Connections’ two primary options are the $500,000 Indiana Derby (G3) on July 13 at Indiana Grand or the $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1) on July 20 at Monmouth Park.

“Now that Maximum Security got beat (June 16 in Monmouth’s Pegasus) and we ran so well in the Matt Winn, you’ve got to look at the Haskell,” Thomas said.

The Haskell carries with it a “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Classic ticket. Mr. Money could also be a strong Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile candidate, considering his impressive win at the distance in May.

Thomas said that, if healthy, he’d like Mr. Money to take a shot at a Breeders’ Cup race – but only if the event moves from Santa Anita Park, where it’s scheduled to take place Nov. 1-2. The Breeders’ Cup board will reportedly meet Thursday to discuss that and other topics.

“I have no intention of going to Santa Anita to run in the Breeders’ Cup,” Thomas said of the track where 30 horses have perished due to injuries as a result of racing or training since Dec. 26.

“If it comes to Churchill or Keeneland or another track, then we’ll look at it. But we’re not going to Santa Anita.”


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