By T. D. Thornton
When Long Range Toddy (Take Charge Indy) won the eighth race at Gulfstream Park Sunday, the 7-year-old put to rest a losing streak that dated back to before the controversial 2019 GI Kentucky Derby, a race in which he earned historical footnote status by being the horse who was fouled in the only disqualification of a Derby winner for an in-race incident.
Long Range Toddy's 2 1/4-length score in a seven-furlong allowance/optional claimer July 16 was his first victory since Mar. 16, 2019, when he took a division of that year's split GII Rebel S. at Oaklawn Park, two prep races prior to his brush with infamy in the Kentucky Derby.
Despite his win drought being ended, another remarkable aspect of Long Range Toddy's career remains intact: Although he flirted with favoritism before Sunday's race went off, he closed as the 2.4-1 second choice. Amazingly, this means that despite bankrolling more than $1.2 million in earnings in a career that now spans 37 starts all up and down the class structure, the betting public has never once sent off Long Range Toddy as the favorite in the wagering.
How many other equine millionaires can claim that feat? TDN is not sure, because such esoteric stats aren't easy to verify (although we'd welcome input from readers with better memories or access to a more robust database).
For a large chunk of his career Long Range Toddy was campaigned by his breeder, Willis Horton. Owner Zenith Racing acquired him in the spring of 2022. In a trainer switch on Sunday, he started for the first time for conditioner Victor Barboza, Jr. The winning rider was Emisael Jaramillo. It was lifetime win number five Long Range Toddy.
In the 2019 Kentucky Derby, Long Range Toddy was a 54-1 long shot already beginning to fade on the far turn when he was forced to check sharply as part of chain-reaction crowding that the Churchill Downs stewards deemed to have been caused by first-across-the-wire Maximum Security.
After 22 agonizing minutes of examining replays, the stewards took the win away from Maximum Security, placing him behind Long Range Toddy, who ended up 17th under the wire. Country House was declared the official winner of the Derby via DQ. The connections of Maximum Security sued in federal court to get the result overturned, but the DQ stood.
As fate would have it, this past week actually turned out to be newsworthy for the only three remaining active alums of that bizarre 2019 Derby.
On July 12, Gray Magician (Graydar), who finished 19th and last in the 2019 Derby, won a $20,000 claiming sprint at Canterbury Park by 3 1/2 lengths as the 9-10 favorite. He's been claimed five times and has had six different trainers while racing at 15 different tracks globally, from Meydan to Arizona Downs. His lifetime record now stands at 5-for-41 with $921,460 in earnings for current owner Kirk Sutherland and trainer Jose Silva, Jr.
Also on Sunday, just hours before Long Range Toddy's win, the connections of Tax (Arch), who crossed the wire 15th in the 2019 Derby, announced the retirement of the 7-year-old, who most recently ran second in the Mar. 11 GIII Challenger S. at Tampa Bay Downs. Tax retires at 5-for-19 and with $1,102,190 in earnings. He was owned in partnership by R.A. Hill Stable and trainer Danny Gargan.