Road to the 2019 Derby: Gunmetal Gray Goes from Worst to First in Sham Stakes

Posted by Evan Chronis on Mon, Jan 7, 2019

Sometimes all it takes is one last burst of energy.

As the seven horses competing in the Sham Stakes rounded the final turn on January 5, it was Gunmetal Gray in the back of the pack. But as the group sprinted towards the finish line, it was Gunmetal Gray crossing first at Santa Anita Park.

That's right — the Mike Smith-led horse jumped from last to first in the final furlong of this Road to the Kentucky Derby® qualifier, earning 10 points in the process. But the question remains: how?

The running of the Sham Stakes is a three act story. It started with Savagery opening up as the leader well into the first turn. As they headed towards the half-mile pole, Savagery maintained a two-length lead over the opposition, but the Bob Baffert-trained Much Better was on his tail. 

At the 3/8 pole, Much Better made the move to take the lead over Savagery heading into the final turn. The assault from Much Better took Savagery by surprise as he fell back into the group. 

During this entire sequence, Gunmetal Gray sat comfortably behind the pack. With every charge and attempt at overtaking another horse, Gunmetal Gray observed from behind and continued to preserve energy. In the final stretch Gunmetal Gray began his charge and overtook everyone in his way from the outside. As Much Better clawed to hold onto his narrow lead, it was for naught. Gunmetal Gray looked like a superior species of horse as he flew past everyone and crossed the finish line first. 

The victory was Gunmetal Gray's first Grade 1 stakes win, bringing him to 14 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard. 

Check out our last Road to Derby update!

Road to the 2019 Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby American Road Standings

1 Game Winner 30  
2 Knicks Go 18  
3 Signalman 18  
4 Complexity 10  
5 Maximus Mischief  10  
6 Cairo Cat 10  
7 Improbable 10  
8 Gunmetal Gray 4

Kentucky Derby European Road Standings

1 Royal Marine (IRE) 10
2 Magna Grecia (IRE) 10
3 Mohawk (IRE) 10
4 Japan (GB) 10
5 Phoenix of Spain (IRE) 4
6 Broome (IRE) 4
7 Sydney Opera House 4
8 Mount Everest (IRE) 4

Kentucky Derby Japan Road Standings

1 Nova Lenda (JPN 20
2 Make Happy 12
3 Derma Louvre (JPN) 8
4 Gal Vihara (JPN) 4
5 Kingen (JPN) 4
6 Johann (JPN) 2
7 Romantico (JPN) 1

Get Official Ticket Packages for the 2019 Derby!

As we approach the halfway point of the Road to the Kentucky Derby, we're getting excited for the 'Run for the Roses' on May 4. You can be at the 2019 Derby, and attend exclusive parties like the Fillies & Lilies Party, with an Official Ticket Package from Derby Experiences. Check out our full offerings below:

2020 Kentucky Derby Official Ticket Packages