Louisiana Derby (gr. II) winner Pants On Fire and third-place finisher Mucho Macho Man are being pointed to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) for their next starts, their trainers indicated March 27, the day after the $1 million race at Fair Grounds.
Previously unheralded Pants On Fire, a son of Jump Start , had only a maiden win in seven starts prior to his neck victory in the Louisiana Derby at odds of 6-1.
Kelly Breen, who trains the Kentucky-bred colt for George and Lori Hall, left Fair Grounds early to prepare his horses for the Sunland Park Derby (gr. III), but indicated earlier that Pants On Fire, who earned $600,000 for the victory, would make his next start in the May 7 Derby.
As far as trainer Kathy Ritvo is concerned, the loss of a shoe at the start of the race was more than enough to prevent her 3-2 favorite from adding the Louisiana Derby to Mucho Macho Man's earlier Fair Grounds win in the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II). Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Dream Team One Racing’s son of Macho Uno was defeated by three-quarters of a length, unable to sustain his menacing bid for the lead in upper stretch.
Ritvo, a 41-year-old mother of two, said her horse appeared none the worse for wear despite the shoe mishap.
“The horse is doing fine this morning," she said. “I’m not discouraged at all. I don’t see any reason right now that we can’t go on and shoot for the Kentucky Derby with him.”
“We can’t win every time,” said the always upbeat Ritvo. “We’d like to, but we can’t. We’ll just put what happened yesterday down as a learning experience, but you would think that when a horse loses a shoe right out of the gate it probably costs him two lengths, or at least one length.
“When I was watching the race, ‘Macho’ just didn’t seem to be getting a good hold of the track the last part of it, and I couldn’t figure out why,” Ritvo said, “but then when one of the gate guys came up to me and gave me the shoe right after the race it made a lot more sense to me. I didn’t know about the shoe until then.”
There was no word on the status of Zayat Stable's Nehro, the runner-up in the Louisiana Derby. The Mineshaft colt picked up $200,000 for his game effort but would likely need another shot at graded earnings to make the Kentucky Derby field.