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TwinSpires Bad Luck Board – Delivering wins, one loss at a time.

Sometimes, no matter how much handicapping and analysis we invest, the events of a race beat us.

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Bad Luck Board Decisions

05/04/2019 Churchill Downs Kentucky Derby Maximum Security
04/06/2019 Keeneland Blue Grass Stakes Win Win Win
04/03/2019 Penn National Race 4 Hay You Guys
03/30/2019 Gulfstream Park Race 3 Haunt
03/30/2019 Meydan Dubai World Cup Gronkowski
03/24/2019 Sunland Park Sunland Derby Anothertwistafate
03/23/2019 Fair Grounds Louisiana Derby War of Will
03/16/2019 Oaklawn Park Race 4 Dessman
03/09/2019 Turfway Park Race 4 Out of Dawn
03/04/2019 Gulfstream Park Fountain of Youth S. Hidden Scroll

On The Bad Luck Board Radar

Racetracks that could be reviewed by the Board

  • Saturday, March 2—Gulfstream
  • Saturday, March 9—Tampa/Turfway
  • Saturday, March 16—Oaklawn
  • Saturday, March 23—Fair Grounds
  • Sunday, March 24—Sunland
  • Saturday, March 30—Dubai/Gulfstream
  • Saturday, April 6—Keeneland
  • Saturday, April 13—Oaklawn
  • Friday, May 3—Churchill Downs
  • Saturday, May 4—Churchill Downs

Bad Luck Reactions

Keeneland Blue Grass Stakes - April 6, 2019

The 3-1 second choice in the wagering to eventual winner Vekoma in last Saturday’s $1 million Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland, Win Win Win was bumped slightly leaving the gate and saved ground while racing near the tail of the field on the run down by the backside.

Gulfstream Park Race 3 & Dubai World Cup - March 30, 2019

Adding blinkers for his third career start in Saturday’s third race at Gulfstream Park, Haunt was backed down to the 4-1 second choice in the field of nine maiden three-year-olds. Minutes later, in the Dubai World Cup (G1) at Meydan, Gronkowski unexpectedly ran the race of his life at odds of 40-1.

Fair Grounds Race 13 & Sunland Park Race 11 - March 23 & 24, 2019

A few strides out of the gate in Saturday's $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2), 4-5 favorite War of Will virtually lost all chance at a sweep of Fair Grounds' Kentucky Derby (G1) preps when his hind end gave out briefly. Twenty-four hours later, in the Sunland Park Derby (G3), Northern California invader Anothertwistafate missed by a neck.

Oaklawn Park, Race 4 - March 16, 2019

In the fourth race, an entry-level allowance for three-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles, Dessman was sent away as the 1-2 favorite. The Triple Crown-nominated son of Union Rags had won on debut by more than seven lengths, and his most recent start he had missed by a nose in the San Vicente (G2), also at Santa Anita.

Turfway Park, Race 4 - March 9, 2019

This past Saturday on the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) undercard at Turfway, those who played first-time starter Out Till Dawn had reason to regret their bad luck in the 4TH race. The 6-1 chance in the maiden special weight was moving well on the far turn, promising to advance into a contending position, only to drift wide. Worse was to come into the stretch, as Out Till Dawn lived up to the “out” part of her name by veering toward the outside rail, and wound up sixth.

Fountain of Youth - March 3rd, 2019

The Board’s first unlucky outcome goes to #7 Hidden Scroll, who finished 4th in the Fountain of Youth Stakes. The 6-to-5 favorite and one of the top choices for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, ran well in defeat, dueling with longshot Gladiator King through quick fractions. Gladiator King ended up last while Hidden Scroll fought on admirably before giving way in deep stretch.

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Historical Bad Luck

1987 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Hollywood

For the beloved Hall of Fame jockey/trainer combo of Bill Shoemaker and Charlie Whittingham, the 1987 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Hollywood Park could have been their first wins in the Breeders' Cup series. Jeanne Jones had built up a seemingly insurmountable lead of six lengths with a furlong to go in the one-mile race, but the filly soon became aware of the mess of photographers near the finish line and begun to ease herself up when obviously distracted. Epitome, a 30-1 longshot with Pat Day aboard, surged late and denied Jeanne Jones by a nose to win both the race and champion two-year-old filly honors. Shoemaker and Whittingham would have to wait several more hours to win their first Breeders' Cup race with Ferdinand in an epic Classic renewal against Alysheba.


1991 Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park

The star power of a four-horse renewal of the 1991 Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park over 1 1/8 miles centered on once-beaten juvenile champion Meadow Star, coming off a six-length win in the Acorn Stakes, and 10-length Kentucky Oaks winner Lite Light, owned in partnership by the family of rap superstar M. C. Hammer. The latter was 1-2 and Meadow Star 9-10 in their second ever meeting, and through the stretch Meadow Star hung on ever so gamely to beat her rival in a scintillating stretch duel by the barest of noses with a gap of more than 15 lengths back to the rest. Lite Light would return the favor winning the 1 1/4-mile Coaching Club American Oaks by seven lengths, though Meadow Star would out-finish Lite Light in three of their five lifetime meetings.


War Emblem

It’s a horrible feeling to know that your horse has virtually lost his chance right out of the gate. It’s even worse when that horse is the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1) winner seeking an elusive Triple Crown sweep in the Belmont S. (G1). But that’s exactly what happened to War Emblem as the 6-5 favorite in the 2002 Belmont. A free-running type who did his best work on the front end, War Emblem employed that style to upset the Kentucky Derby at 20-1. Although the Bob Baffert trainee didn’t have things his own way in the Preakness, he was in the clear forcing the pace before taking command. War Emblem never got to use his chief weapon – his early speed – when stumbling at the start of the third jewel of the Triple Crown. Out of his comfort zone held up in the pocket, he moved through on the inside to challenge, only to weaken turning for home and wound up eighth behind the 70-1 Sarava. We’ll never know what might have happened if War Emblem had broken cleanly, but it’s clear that the miscue at the break cost him his best shot at the Crown.

Real Quiet

Twenty years after Affirmed became the last horse to sweep the Triple Crown, Real Quiet appeared on the threshold of immortality on a golden day at Belmont Park. The 1998 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1) hero opened up down the stretch in the Belmont S. (G1), his four-length lead at the eighth-pole apparently insurmountable. Then came archrival Victory Gallop, the Derby and Preakness runner-up, launching a furious rally inside the final furlong. Real Quiet was noticeably tiring just as Victory Gallop was reaching peak speed, and fatigue may well have been the factor as he bumped Victory Gallop in those last desperate yards. Would the wire come in time to save the Triple Crown bid? And even if it did, would Real Quiet be disqualified for hampering Victory Gallop at the decisive stage? After an agonizing wait, the photo revealed that Victory Gallop had gotten up by a nose. Until the end of time, racing fans will argue about whether Hall of Famer Kent Desormeaux moved too soon aboard Real Quiet, committing him on the far turn. On the other hand, deep closers historically have found it difficult to make up as much ground as Victory Gallop did. For Real Quiet’s trainer, Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, it was his second straight brutal beat in the Belmont after Silver Charm was denied a Triple Crown sweep by Touch Gold. Who knew that in the future, Baffert would gain compensation twice over with Triple Crown winners American Pharoah and Justify?