On two different occasions in 2002, he was claimed for $10,000. In April 2003, he won a grade III stakes. Now, he's a contender in the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), complete with a sterling record on the dirt at Santa Anita Park.
Bluesthestandard, a 6-year-old Georgia-bred by American Standard, has been claimed five times in his career, the most recent for $50,000 on Dec. 31, 2002. He was purchased by Jeffrey Sengara and moved to trainer Ted West's barn.
Sengara and West must have really liked what they saw. In his next two starts, Bluesthestandard competed in and won two optional-claiming races but wasn't in for a tag. In his third start for his new connections, he won the Potrero Grande Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. I) convincingly over Joey Franco and Kona Gold at Santa Anita, where he has seven wins, two seconds, and a third in 11 career starts.
In 2002, Bluesthestandard was pre-entered in the Claiming Crown at Philadelphia Park because he had competed for $10,000, but flight arrangements from California fell through and he didn't make the trip. On Oct. 5 of this year, the gelding finished third, beaten only 1 ½ lengths, in the grade I Ancient Title Breeders' Cup Handicap at Santa Anita. To say he has come a long way would be an understatement.
"He's such a cool horse," said West, whose father, Ted, now serves as his assistant. "You have to admire a Georgia-bred that goes above and beyond. The last two weeks he has been head-and-shoulders above anything he has done. The Sprint looks very wide-open, and if I were a handicapper, I wouldn't know where to start. But coming up to the race, I have no doubt he's going to fire."
On Oct. 19 at Santa Anita, Bluesthestandard worked four furlongs in :45 2/5. On Oct. 12, he was clocked in a rapid :33 1/5 for three furlongs at Santa Anita. Before the Ancient Title, he had about seven weeks off, so West believes he's fresh and ready to roll.
Bluesthestandard is a bit of character in that he doesn't like to be saddled. West said some schooling has paid off -- in more ways than one.
"I should say I've gotten better because now I know what he wants me to do," West said with a laugh.
Bluesthestandard was supplemented to the Sprint for $90,000, or 9% of the $1-million purse. He's in this year because the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships will be held in his own back yard.
"I remember last year hoping to have a Breeders' Cup horse," said West, a 30-year-old who was born in Arcadia, where Santa Anita is located. "(If the Cup were somewhere else), I don't think we would have supplemented and shipped. This is his favorite track, and he won't have to adapt to a different climate."
West and Sengara aren't strangers to racing's championship day. In 1999, their first Cup starter, Budroyale, finished second in the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park in Florida. It should be noted Budroyale also was a former claimer, and he, too, was 6 years old when he raced in the Cup.