Unforeseen Illness Derails Andy’s Kentucky Derby Dream

Slow Down Andy’s Derby Dreams Dashed by Fever

Trainer Doug O’Neill’s top Kentucky Derby prospect, Slow Down Andy, has encountered a setback on his path to the Derby. O’Neill confirmed that the promising colt has spiked a fever, rendering him unfit for the prestigious race. This unexpected turn of events has left the racing community in a state of perplexity and disappointment.

Unfortunate Turn of Events for Slow Down Andy

Sadly, Slow Down Andy’s dreams of competing in the Kentucky Derby have come to a halt due to an unforeseen illness. The colt, who recently triumphed over Bye Bye Bobby in the Grade 3 Sunland Park Derby, was considered a strong contender for the May 7th race. However, a sudden bout of sickness has forced O’Neill to withdraw Slow Down Andy from the Derby lineup.

According to O’Neill, Slow Down Andy’s condition is not severe, but it necessitates time for recovery. While the colt will sadly miss out on the Derby, O’Neill remains hopeful for his quick recuperation.

Hopes Rest on Happy Jack

Doug O’Neill, a trainer with an impressive track record in the Kentucky Derby, finds solace in his backup prospect, Happy Jack. With 30 qualifying points to his name, Happy Jack has secured his spot on the Derby bubble. Though he faced stiff competition from Ethereal Road and In Due Time at the Lexington Stakes in Keeneland, neither prevailed, securing Happy Jack’s position in the Derby field.

With Slow Down Andy’s unexpected defection, Charge It and Tawny Port have also earned their spots in the Kentucky Derby, limited to 20 horses. Notably, Tawny Port solidified his case by winning the Lexington Stakes, catapulting him from 20th to 11th place in the points standings.

Happy Jack, the son of Oxbow, showcased his potential by finishing third in the Grade 2 San Felipe and Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. While his odds remain long at 300/1 on Circa Sports’ Kentucky Derby Futures Board and 135/1 at Caesars/William Hill, O’Neill remains confident in his abilities.

O’Neill reiterates, “We still have Happy Jack,” emphasizing his belief in the backup contender’s capabilities.

Slow Down Andy’s Journey Cut Short

Reflecting on Slow Down Andy’s journey, it becomes evident that he had showcased immense promise. With wins in the Grade 2 Los Alamitos Futurity and the Grade 3 Sunland Park Derby, he had accumulated an impressive 60 qualifying points. A notable highlight was his victory over Messier in the Los Alamitos Futurity, only for Messier to return with a resounding 15-length triumph in the Robert B. Lewis.

Despite a minor setback in the Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds, where Slow Down Andy finished sixth, his overall performance remained commendable. With solid odds of 40/1 on Circa Sports and 30/1 at Caesars/William Hill, many had high hopes for the talented colt.

Horse Racing’s Unpredictable Nature

Slow Down Andy’s unfortunate withdrawal from the Kentucky Derby serves as a poignant reminder of the unpredictable nature of horse racing. From injuries during workouts to unexpected illnesses, there are countless variables that can alter a horse’s trajectory on the Derby trail.

Trainer Doug O’Neill did not provide a specific timeline for Slow Down Andy’s return to racing. However, possibilities such as the May 21 Preakness Stakes or races back at Santa Anita remain on the table. Looking further ahead, there is also potential for the colt’s participation in the June 11 Belmont Stakes or its accompanying undercard races.

Owned by Reddam Racing, one of O’Neill’s prominent and loyal clients, Slow Down Andy has displayed great potential in his short career of five races, winning three of them.


The unexpected fever that befell Slow Down Andy has dealt a blow to his Kentucky Derby aspirations. Trainer Doug O’Neill, however, remains optimistic as he shifts his focus to Happy Jack, the backup contender. Horse racing’s unpredictable nature often introduces unexpected twists and turns, showcasing the need for adaptability.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will Slow Down Andy make a comeback in the Preakness Stakes?

Trainer Doug O’Neill has not yet confirmed Slow Down Andy’s future races. While the Preakness Stakes could be a possibility, other races and events might also be considered for his return.

2. Which race propelled Tawny Port into the Kentucky Derby field?

Tawny Port earned his spot in the Kentucky Derby lineup after an impressive victory in the Lexington Stakes.

3. How has Happy Jack performed in previous races?

Happy Jack has shown promise, finishing third in both the Grade 2 San Felipe and Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby.

4. Who are Slow Down Andy’s prominent owners?

Slow Down Andy is owned by Reddam Racing, one of trainer Doug O’Neill’s biggest and most loyal clients.

5. What are the odds for Happy Jack in the Kentucky Derby?

Happy Jack currently has odds of 300/1 on Circa Sports’ Kentucky Derby Futures Board and 135/1 at Caesars/William Hill.

Picture of Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

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