Thursday morning at Pimlico Race Course, John Shirreffs was presented with a counterfactual: How would Royal Mo have fared in the Kentucky Derby, had his colt just made the cut?
“It's hard to predict,” the-71-year-old trainer said. “The Derby is about being at the right place at the right time, getting a break. A lot of things have to go well.”
Nothing had gone wrong for the Derby field ahead of the May 6 Run for the Roses, which was why Royal Mo had not made the cut. Twenty-first in points entering the Triple Crown’s first leg, he was named to the also-eligible list but not, ultimately, the 20-horse race.
Shirreffs’ consolation — that Royal Mo would at least run in...