Horse racing is a strange world, at least compared to other major sports. It would be unheard of for a sports team to make a major transaction just days before a championship game. But that’s exactly what happened in racing on Monday morning and aside from a few questions about the timing no one is batting an eye. Kentucky Derby contender General A Rod was sold by previous owner J. Armando Rodriguez to a new ownership group made up of Skychai Racing and Starlight Stables.
General A Rod will wear the silks of James Shircliff who is a partner in both Skychai Racing and Starlight Stables. According to the new owners preparations for the Kentucky Derby will continue without change–Mike Maker will continue to train General A Rod and jockey Joel Rosario will ride him in the race. Maker first learned of the sale on Monday morning and was somewhat surprised at the timing but said that it would be ‘business as usual’:
“I’m a bit surprised, but I’ve been around the game long enough not to be surprised. I haven’t been given any of the details of the arrangement just yet. Right now I’m just going to keep training this horse as I have been to run in the Derby on Saturday.”
James Shircliff said that he’s had his eye on General A Rod for a long time:
“I am proud of my involvement with both Skychai and Starlight Racing Partnerships. I have been interested in acquiring this horse for some time and I’m thrilled we were finally able to come to terms with Mr. Rodriguez.”
Jack Wolf of Starlight Racing will be the primary managing partner for General A Rod. He has another horse in the Derby–Intense Holiday:
“Jim and I go back a long way. We owned claiming horses together back in the mid-80’s. Jim’s been talking to these people about General a Rod since January and we [Starlight] got involved six weeks ago or so.”
The post position draw for the Kentucky Derby will take place on Wednesday with morning line odds set immediately after. The race is scheduled for Saturday, May 4 at Churchill Downs.