The oddsmakers and horse players treated the 2018 San Felipe Stakes like a two-horse race, and that very much turned out to be the case.
The highly-anticipated showdown between McKinzie and Bolt d’Oro culminated in a bit of drama as the two runners crossed the wire side-by-side. Thanks to a review of two incidents, the inquiry led to McKinzie being disqualified, giving Bolt d’Oro the San Felipe victory and 50 points towards the Kentucky Derby, a point allotment that traditionally locks in a starting position.
Lombo took the head of the field as a 26⁄1 odds longshot, with McKinzie stalking behind. Aquila held steady during the first quarter mile in third, ahead of Bolt d’Oro as the field clocked in at :23.50.
The pace ramped up at the half-mile mark with a time of :46.81 as Kanthaka, at 6⁄1, began to make up ground from far back. McKinzie and Bolt d’Oro both made their move at the three-quarter pole in a time of 1:11.34 and then battled down the stretch. The top two choices made the 2018 San Felipe a race to remember.
McKinzie took the inside path as Bolt d’Oro went stride for stride the entire way fighting tooth and hoof. McKinzie barely held the advantage as Bolt d’Oro dug in for every ounce of talent coursing through his body. In the end, the undefeated McKinzie was able to cross the wire first, by a neck, in an absolute thriller that kept his winning streak intact.
Or so we thought.
The inquiry signal flashed shortly after the end of the race.
An excruciating waiting period held the tension in the air before it was revealed – much to the surprise of everyone watching – that Bolt d’Oro had been awarded the victory with McKinzie being relegated to second place. Kanthaka was a distant third and was not impacted by the review.
Officials suggested that there were two penalties during the final sprint, but that the first was inconclusive.
Scott Chaney of Santa Anita revealed that, “The videotape showed over the last sixteenth, the inside horse, McKinzie, was drifting out, probably about two paths, forcing [Bolt d’Oro] off his path, costing him the opportunity to gain the head he lost by."
Chaney also revealed that the first incident was inconclusive from an officiating standpoint, but that Bolt d’Oro could have been blamed for unnecessary contact. However, since there was no penalty distributed to Bolt d’oro, there was no way to offset them and the rule was handed down as official.
Despite frustration on the side of Bob Baffert, the main takeaway is that McKinzie is indeed class in the three-year-old group. The infractions were not even noticeable to the untrained eye and those who bet racing frequently can see talent when it appears on the track. There is no way you can discount Bolt d’Oro either, but he may not be a runaway favourite to win the Kentucky Derby.
The Santa Anita Derby rematch – if it lines up that way – can’t come soon enough!
Learn more about the San Felipe with these indepth stories:
|1||Bolt d'Oro 6-5||$4.40||$2.60||$2.20|
|Super High Five||1/4/8/7/3||$138.10|