By Dick Downey
Dallas Stewart is following the same strategy he did last year when Golden Soul ran second in the Kentucky Derby: Go to Churchill Downs short of Derby points and wait for defections.
Commanding Curve, who got 20 points for a third-place finish in the Louisiana Derby after a rough start, is 24th in the standings.
“We’re training as if we’re already in,” Stewart told the New Orleans Advocate. “You don’t halfway-train in a situation like this. And you don’t get in it unless you think you can win it. So if we get in, we think he’s going to run well.
In 2013, Golden Soul moved from 24th to 19th on the Derby leaderboard. Bettors made him 34-1, and he produced the best finish Stewart’s had in a Triple Crown race.
“That worked out pretty well for us,” Stewart said of Golden Soul. “And Commanding Curve already has a win at Churchill. You just never know.”
Commanding Curve broke his maiden at Churchill Downs in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight on Nov. 30. It was his fourth career start.
Stewart’s confidence in Commanding Curve’s chances could be based on a perception in some circles that the quality of the 2014 Derby field may not be up to par.