News and STORIES

By My Standards, Tom's d'Etat Will Travel To Churchill

Author: Clint Goodman
Published: Friday May 08, 2020
By My Standards and Tom's d'Etat will head to Churchill Downs when the track opens up its stable area, which is set for next week. The pair of horses are two of the top older runners in the nation.

Staying Home at Churchill

Both of the horses took stakes victories at Oaklawn Park in their previous starts, with By My Standards winning the May 2 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) and Tom's d'Etat scoring the April 11 Oaklawn Mile Stakes. Bret Calhoun trains By My Standards while Al Stall Jr. conditions Tom's d'Etat.

According to Thomas and Calhoun, it is better to stay home for the June 27 Stephen Foster Stakes (G2) at Churchill.

"We'd like to try to win a grade 1 race, and that race was downgraded to a grade 2 last year," Calhoun said. "But I think it makes sense to stay home, run out of his own stall. I'm in a great spot right now. 

"The horse is fresh, in great form, the timing with the races in the near future looks like it's going to work out for us. Then having the Breeders' Cup in Kentucky in our own backyard (at Keeneland)—all that's very positive for us."

The Blame Stakes

Thomas also owns 4-year-old Mr. Money in partnership with Spendthrift Farm and Eric Gustavson. Mr. Money took four graded stakes last year, and he could run in the newly created $100,000 Blame Stakes at a one-turn mile at Churchill on May 23. In his first 2020 start, he finished sixth on a wet track in the Oaklawn Mile.

"We just don't think he liked that track at all," Thomas said.

Stall is not all that attracted to the Blame, and he thought it would be around two turns at 1 1/8 miles. That was the original distance before Churchill Downs made changes to the stakes schedule due to COVID-19. The Blame would have acted as a prep for the Stephen Foster, which also runs at 1/8-mile. 

Tom's d'Etat has only raced around one turn once, which was an allowance race where he won by 7 1/4-lengths at Churchill Downs in the fall of 2018. Tom's d'Etat could target the June 6 Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) at 1 1/4-mile, but it is dependent on Santa Anita Park resuming racing if cleared by the county's health department. 

Stall is searching for the right two-turn race, moving away from the Stephen Foster because of a 2 1/2-month layoff. Since taking the Clark Stakes Presented by Norton Healthcare (G1) last fall, Tom's d'Etat has made one start.

"I'm not sure what to do. If I'd known this was going to happen, I might have run in the Oaklawn Handicap," Stall said.

In the most recent NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll, Tom's d'Etat moved up a spot and into No. 6. The list is led by 2019 champion older female Midnight Bisou. Tom's d'Etat is 7-years-old and has 10 victories in 17 runs.

"He's actually better because he's had a regular career for the past two years now," Stall said. "His time off this winter at the Fair Grounds was just a plain old freshening. We really thought he'd run a good race off the bench, which he does anyway."

Churchill Downs Safety Initiatives

Churchill Downs will begin its delayed spring meet with new and expanded safety protocols. 

Some of the new measures include pre-entry examinations by attending veterinarians within three days of entry, pre-work examinations within five days preceding a timed workout, and required examinations by Churchill's equine medical director for horses that are away for extended periods.