Monarchos Wins Second Fastest Derby

ByABC News

L O U I S V I L L E, Ky., -- Monarchos ran the second fastest Kentucky Derby in history, then had to withstand a foul claim to get the impressive victory Saturday at Churchill Downs.

Monarchos finished the 1¼ miles in 1:59 4/5, only two-fifths of a second off the track record set by Secretariat in 1973. But moments later jockey John Velazquez, who finished second on Invisible Ink, claimed the winner, ridden by Jorge Chavez, had interfered with him at the quarter-pole.

The stewards needed little time to reject the claim. No winner in a Triple Crown race has ever been disqualified.

"I touched nobody," Chavez said. "I was clear. My horse was exploding. I didn't even see him."

Monarchos charged through the stretch to win by 4¾ lengths and justify Chavez's high opinion of him.

"He has everything he needs to win the Kentucky Derby," Chavez said after Monarchos won the Florida Derby on March 10 at Gulfstream Park. "I've never been on this kind of horse."

Only Ron Turcotte, who rode Secretariat, has been on this kind of a horse in the Derby.

Invisible Ink, a 30-1 shot, finished a nose in front of Congaree, who was 4 lengths ahead of Thunder Blitz. Favored Point Given was another 2¾ lengths back in the field of 17 3-year-olds.

It was the first Derby victory for Chavez, trainer John Ward and owner John C. Oxley. And it came after Monarchos' second-place finish to Congaree in the Wood Memorial, a defeat that did not disturb Ward.

"For getting a horse ready for a mile-and-a-quarter, it was a perfect prep," Ward said of the Wood.

Monarchos returned $23, $11.80 and $8.80.

Invisible Ink, who almost died last spring, returned $46.60 and $21.20. Congaree paid $7.20.

"We reviewed it two or three times and felt he had not substantially put himself in a position where he impeded," chief steward Bernard Hettel said in explaining why Monarchos' victory was allowed to stand.

Completing the order of finish after Point Given were: Jamaican Rum, A P Valentine, Express Tour, Fifty Stars, Startac, Millennium Wind, Arctic Boy, Songandaprayer, Balto Prayer, Dollar Bill and Keats. Talk Is Money did not finish.

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