On Saturday, the final month of Kentucky Derby prep races began at Gulfstream Park with the Grade I Florida Derby. Three high profile thoroughbreds were among the favorites, with the consensus favorite for Kentucky Derby 138, Union Rags, starting the race with 2-5 odds.
This contest was an impressive showing for Take Charge Indy. Ridden by three-time Kentucky Derby winning jockey Calvin Borel, Take Charge Indy led wire to wire, getting a challenge from second place finisher Reveron, who was just able to hold off a surging Union Rags for second place. Take Charge Indy got some help early as Union Rags was hemmed in behind the leaders and didn’t get an opportunity to move away from traffic until the top of the stretch. El Padrino and his jockey (former rider of Union Rags), Javier Castellano, were also behind the lead group and couldn’t make a run at the leaders until late. Borel was pleased with his ride and believes that Take Charge Indy has even more to give; “It’s not how far he’ll go, it’s how fast he can go, and just keep going. I think he can go a lot faster than this.’’ The upset victory means that Take Charge Indy now has enough earnings to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, and only a first or second place finish in Florida was going to secure that. Consider his mission accomplished.
The next day at Fairgrounds Park, another important prep race was held. The Grade II Louisiana Derby was to be the final prep for the up-and-coming Mark Valeski and Rousing Sermon and those two were the favorites, but a funny thing happened on the way to the finish line. A 109-1 long-shot called Hero of Order shook up the odds makers. In this contest, Comisky’s Humor jumped out in front early, with Hero of Order stalking and Mark Valeski, Rousing Sermon, and Cigar Street battling just behind them. The first turn is where the favorites started making their run, with Hero of Order wrestling the lead away, as Comisky’s Humor started to fade. Mark Valeski made a charge in the final 50 or so yards, but jockey Eddie Martin, Jr. was able to find a little something extra to lead Hero of Order over the finish line to win by a neck. Underscoring the size of this upset was the fact that Hero of Order was one of only two horses in the 13 participant field that was not nominated for Triple Crown racing.
Coming up on April 7th, there will be two more high profile prep races; the Santa Anita Derby and Wood Memorial. The Santa Anita Derby will include Creative Cause and I’ll Have Another, while the Wood Memorial will see Alpha, Gemologist, and My Adonis competing. These great thoroughbreds are making their final push to make it to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby, but you won’t need to run any foot races to be a part of the “Run for the Roses”. Just visit DerbyDeals.com and find great prices on tickets and ticket packages that will put you right in the action. For more information, surf the web to DerbyDeals.com or give one of their friendly sales people a call at 877-DERBYKY and reserve your seats today!