Another three year old has been removed from consideration for the Kentucky Derby today as the connections of Albano indicated that they’ll bypass the iconic race for better opportunities down the road. Albano has had a decent–though not spectacular–three year old campaign most recently finishing fourth in the Louisiana Derby. All of Albano’s three year old races have been at Louisiana’s Fairgrounds Park–he was second in the Risen Star Stakes and second in the Lecomte.
Despite likely having enough points to qualify for the May 3 Derby owner Brereton C. Jones thinks bypassing the race is the right move and in the best interest of the horse’s longterm potential:
“He’s a May colt, and he’s getting better all the time. He ran well in the Louisiana Derby, getting bumped around, moved up to fourth after the disqualification. But we don’t think that’s a strong enough effort to go on to the Derby. If we had more time, or he was more mature, then maybe. He’ll be a graded stakes winner one day. But we don’t think the Derby is the time to try.”
Translation–Albano is a very ‘immature’ three year old and will likely fare better in graded stakes races as he ages. His three year old performance to date is definitely encouraging but doesn’t suggest he’s capable of a dominant or even competitive run in the Kentucky Derby.
Albano’s withdrawal is good news for the many three year olds still ‘on the bubble’ trying to qualify for the Kentucky Derby. Albano was ranked #15 on the Derby points list and his withdrawal along with that of Toast of New York earlier this week gives a boost to the hopes of a number of horses. Given the relatively few Derby contenders to declare ‘in or out’ at this juncture and the typical high attrition rate in the month before the race it’s almost certain that several more highly ranked contenders will either be pointed elsewhere or forced to withdraw due to injury. The Kentucky Derby is limited to 20 entrants and is now assigned by a qualification points system. For most of its history qualification was done based on graded stakes earnings.