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Brigadier General Scratched From Ohio Derby, Will Target Indiana Derby

James Murphy
by in Horses on
  • Brigadier General was scratched from today’s Grade 3 Ohio Derby at Thistledown.
  • He had originally been considered for the Belmont Stakes but his connections found the distance problematic.
  • The plan now is to target the Grade 3 Indiana Derby on July 9 at Horseshoe Indianapolis.

West Point Thoroughbreds owned colt Brigadier General was scratched from the Grade 3 Ohio Derby at Thistledown and will instead be pointed toward the July 9 Grade 3 Indiana Derby at Horseshoe Indianapolis. Over the past month, Brigadier General has been in the news more often for the races he *hasn’t* entered than anything he’s done on the track. He was considered for the June 11 Grade 1 Belmont Stakes but withdrawn from consideration the weekend before the post position draw.

On Thursday night, trainer Dallas Stewart told the Daily Racing Form in a text message that the horse was ‘fine’. Brigadier General has been a ‘work in progress’ for his connections, though they’re hoping that the improved speed he’s shown since adding blinkers three starts ago is a portent of good things to come. Brigadier General’s withdrawal reduced the Ohio Derby field to seven, from which Tawny Port emerged victorious ahead of White Abarrio and Classic Causeway.

The decision to take him out of consideration for the Belmont was due to concerns about him handling the distance. West Point Thoroughbreds stable president Terry Finley told Bloodhorse that he didn’t think his colt was ready:

“Not by a longshot, but it’s just a touch too much for him right now.”

Finley also indicated that Brigadier General would compete at Saratoga this summer, though the plan for that remains tentative. The Saratoga 2022 race meet begins on July 14 and runs through September 5.

Brigadier General broke his maiden at Keeneland on April 14 in a MSW against a field of dubious quality going 1 1/16 miles. Next up, he finished fourth in a five horse field in an allowance race at Churchill Downs:

Nothing on this chart suggests that he would be competitive at a mile and a half stepping up in class. His connections were pleased that he ran a competitive race against older horses in the Churchill Downs allowance event. The plan was originally to point him to the Grade 3 Ohio Derby with a $500,000 USD purse run at Thistledown on June 25. The competitive class of this race along with the mile and an eighth distance is a more reasonable ‘next step’ for Brigadier General. At the time, the G3 Matt Winn at Churchill Downs on June 12 going a mile and one sixteenth was also under consideration.

The Indiana Derby is run at a mile and one sixteenth, meaning the distance and competitive level should be a good fit for Brigadier General. It’ll be held at Horseshoe Indianapolis, formerly known as the Indiana Grand and before that as Indiana Downs. Their track runs thoroughbred and quarterhorse races with a long meet running from mid-Spring through late November. Here’s the info on the race from the track’s condition book:

Brigadier General is at a stage in his career where it appears that he prefers longer races but isn’t ready to go *too* long. He opened his three year old season with an 8th place finish in a MSW at Fairgrounds going 6 furlongs. He added blinkers for his next race at Fairgrounds and stretched out to a mile and one sixteenth, finishing second. He then broke his maiden winning a MSW at that distance at Keeneland. His connections are hoping that the 1 1/6 mile is the ‘sweet spot’ for Brigadier General and that he’ll hit the board in the Indiana Derby.

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