Irish Derby could be next as O'Brien retains belief in Saxon Warrior
Saxon Warrior may have become just the 15th odds-on favourite to fall short in the Derby's 239-year history, but his trainer insisted not to lose faith in the 2,000 Guineas winner.
It has all seemed a bit straightforward for O'Brien here in recent years, with the master of Ballydoyle winning four of the last six Derbys and often being mob-handed in the finish. But here, despite saddling five of the 12, not one of the them made the first three places.
Saxon Warrior fared best, finishing fourth despite being sent off the 4-5 favourite, with Delano Roosevelt (sixth) the only other Ballydoyle colt to pick up any prize-money. The Pentagon (eighth), Kew Gardens (ninth) and Zabriskie (last) made no impact.
O'Brien is as humble in defeat as he is magnanimous in victory, and reflected: "It wasn't to be. He ran a good race but just didn't totally fire for whatever reason, but I wouldn't want to take anything away from the winner. These things happen, I won't be making excuses.
"We'll take him home and see how he is. It might have been it was all new to him, he was drawn in stall one and it might have all been a big shock to him.
"I've often seen it happen to horses and they leave the run behind very quickly, so we'll see. He's a baby of a horse, it's only his fifth run, so we'll look forward to him next time."
He added: "He's run at very uncomplicated tracks, this is probably the first complicated track he's had to handle. It could have been he was just in awe of everything. The next run is going to tell us an awful lot."
O'Brien was loath to blame stall one, despite the statistics trotted out after the draw – only three horses have won from the gate since stalls were introduced in 1967.
"It wasn't ideal, but I wouldn't use it as an excuse; that's the harsh reality of it," said O'Brien.
As for what comes next for the fallen Triple Crown hope, he added: "We'll see how he is but I wouldn't rule out the Irish Derby."
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