Claimed Horse Wins the Virtual Kentucky Derby


On Saturday night, SOLmate Stables took home the prestigious Virtual Kentucky Derby title with a horse acquired through a Photo Finish™ LIVE Claiming Race, a monumental moment in Photo Finish™ history that not only marks an outstanding achievement for SOLmate themselves but showcases the accessibility of success for newcomers.

A claiming race in horse racing is a competition in which all participating horses are offered for sale at a specified price before the race. While these races are routinely designated as the home of leveled competition and below-market buys, SOLmate Stables has proven even the best horse in the game can be found in a claiming race if one looks hard enough.

Commodus, the winning horse in question, entered the SOLmate Stables after a successful claiming bid in an After Dark Series 150K ($1,875) claimer on October 24. As further proof that claiming races can be an under-the-radar advantage for those who take advantage of them, Commodus finished 4th in the race.

The claiming bid turned out to be a bargain, considering the winning Derby purse alone is $1,410 and had previously made podiums in numerous races in the run-up to the event. And a stable power move that has, for the fourth time, crowned SOLmate Stables champions of the Photo Finish™ world.

SOLmate shares that their decision to acquire Commodus arose from the stables’ strategic approach to identifying a potential Derby Contender for Season 8, having opted out of the previous season.

“We wanted to have a Derby Contender for season 8 after sitting out last season,” SOLmate Stables stated. “At the time, no three-year-old Left Dirt horse was on the marketplace, and when we saw that Commodus was entered into a claimer, we took a closer look.”

The decision was backed by meticulous research, with SOLmate Stables utilizing the power of the third-party tool GAP Data. Their investigation of the data revealed a scarcity of LDS “S” horses in Commodus’ crop, particularly colts still actively racing.

Key in its strategy, SOLmate says, was the prediction that most fillies would retire before the Derby, giving Commodus a competitive edge.

“Commodus was showing signs that pointed us to believe that he liked 10 furlongs and was going to be able to compete with the other top LDS (Left, Dirt, Soft) horses in his crop at that distance on the soft or sloppy ground,” explained SOLmate Stables.

SOLmate says they also considered the historical performance of winners in soft conditions, finding a common thread among previous champions like Elvis, Walter White, and Walter’s offspring, all descendants of the Ticket Taker.

“Commodus also has the Ticket Taker colt blood mixed in with some matches from a strong S-mare ‘Vanilla Bean’ that may have also boosted his temper,”

Believing that balanced temperament plays a crucial role in breeding a champion line, SOLmate Stables saw the combination of a Ticket Taker LDS Colt, favorable traits for soft ground and 10F distance, and a matched mare as a winning formula for a potential derby contender.

“After we acquired the horse in the claim from Sunnyside Stables, we knew that we needed to get lucky with the weather to have a chance to win,” said SOLmate Stables.

“But for 150K Derby, we felt the possible reward of winning the Kentucky Derby outweighed any risk.”

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