After a searing win in the 2018 Tampa Bay Derby, Quip headed to the 2018 Arkansas Derby and placed a distant second to Magnum Moon. That’s been enough for his connections to make the call to skip the 144th Kentucky Derby in favor of the Preakness Stakes. It’s probably a smart move. Quip has proven that he’s ready to win a big race, but he is not truly rated as a threat to win the derby.
“I talked to the ownership last week about the way he came out of the race and he came out fine and sound,” trainer Rodolphe Brisset said. “But I feel like the three weeks is going to be asking too much. Of course I want to run in the Kentucky Derby, but I have to think about the horse first. To run in the Derby just to run is not the thing to do.”
This is probably a little hearbreaking for Brisset, who hasn’t sent a colt to the Kentucky Derby before. Quip was handed 31/1 longshot odds to win the 2018 Kentucky Derby according to the final pool of the futures wager, so it was a bit of a fool’s errand from a long point of view but it still has to sting a little bit.
Brisset remains confident in the ability of Quip, who has flashed tons of potential but probably just needs a bit more time. “We have a horse who could definitely win a grade 1 down the line but that three-week time frame is just too short. He’s going to need a bit more time. So he’s going to be pointed to the Preakness.”
Quip is a homegrown product of WinStar Farm who have a lot of interests already in the derby. That fed in to the current decision. “I have too much respect for the horse. He put us on the map and it’s the right thing to do for him,” Brisset said of the decision to wait for the Preakness. “The main thing is he’s sound and we really want to take care of him. And the ownership has a few other horses so it was an easy decision.”
In other sad news, fellow longshot Gronkowski is out of the race after suffering an illness that has derailed his training. He is hopeful for the Preakness as well. “We are beyond disappointed that Gronkowski will miss the Kentucky Derby,” said Phoenix Thoroughbreds director Tom Ludt. “To have a Derby contender with our first group of 3-year-olds was a dream come true, and to have had New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski join us on that journey made it even more exciting. But we must put the welfare of the horse first and we will look forward to the colt recovering quickly and to his future races.”
The 2018 Preakness Stakes is on Saturday, May 19th out of Pimlico.