What Say You ?

by Ed Meyer

posted on April 21, 2021 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, Kentucky Derby, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on What Say You ?

The Jim Beam Stakes at Turfway Park originated as a stepping stone that would “Spiral” up to the Derby. –  The race produced some good races, but in the ’80s and ’90s, there were some real runners. In the span of four years from 1990-1993 there were four classic winners. The local event was thought of as Northern Kentucky’s Derby beginning in 1972 from the vision of the late John Battaglia.

In 1988, there was a three-year-old son of Stalwart named Kingpost. The trainer was Diane Carpenter and the rider was local journeyman Eugene Sipus Jr. – Sipus was a solid reinsman and could heat up at any time. This was his biggest mount, and he rode like the wind winning the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park. – As a young man watching this I was sure Gene was on his way to Louisville.

This is where the game gets tricky. – Do you ride the jockey that got you there, or do you jump to a more seasoned boot that has been there before? – Gene was bumped off and replaced by John Velasquez. – For years, it was known as the “Gene Sipus” treatment around my neck of the woods. Getting knocked down just when you were at your highest. Kingpost finished 14th from a 17 horse field in 1988.

Fast forward to 2021. – Rock Your World was 2 for 2 on the turf and trainer John Sadler made the decision to try the G-1 Santa Anita Derby. This son of Candy Ride romped home under a picture-perfect ride by Umberto Rispoli. – The same thing just happened jumping to Joel Rosario. – Hard to knock Rosario. Winning 19% on the year, and 52% ITM. Yeah, hard decision.

Umberto Ripoli is a super rider. Young, talented, patient, and most importantly humble. He is winning 20% on the year, and 51% ITM. If the race was held on turf he is even more dangerous at 26%. But, I digress.- Umberto is talented on the front end nursing the lead, or coming out of the clouds four wide. We’ll be hearing many good things from him in the future.

Rispoli was replaced and handled it with the utmost grace. He’ll have many more opportunities, but I’m talking about this year. If it were you, would you have replaced this up-and-coming rider, or stayed loyal after a beautiful ride to get you in the Derby? Tough call. Tough business.

Once upon a time, I saw Gene Sipus do the same humble acceptance speech. A good rider who delivered on the big day. He deserved a shot in Louisville. – Back to this year. I love Rock Your World, and from friends who work on the west coast, they have nothing but good things from what they’ve seen. – I think Rispoli deserved the chance. Rosario is great, but I think they added some extra karma weight to my horse. This could have launched Rispoli right into the stratosphere if the horse ran to form. But we’ll never know. Decisions made and details to follow.