HRN Report on Ohio Derby: Owendale Wins

(Owendale getting a bath at Churchill Downs / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

(Owendale winning the G3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland earlier this year / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

From the HorseRacingNation (www.horseracingnation.com)

By Jonathan Lintner:

Owendale tucked behind a wall of speed early in Saturday’s G3, $500,000 Ohio Derby, then used a dream trip under jockey Florent Geroux to sneak up the rail and to a victory in JACK Thistledown’s premier race.

Third last time in the Preakness Stakes, the Brad Cox trainee edged out Math Wizard, a former claimer who finished in the money earlier this season in the Wood Memorial (G2), by a half length.

The final time was 1:50.88 for 1 1/8 miles, perhaps setting Owendale up for more high-profile targets later this summer.

“We’ll look,” Cox said. “Definitely some races at Saratoga are of interest — the Jim Dandy or the Travers. Hopefully he comes out of this race fine, give him some time to rest and we’ll take it from there.”

Now a multiple Grade 3 winner, Owendale, who’s by Into Mischief, won Keeneland’s Lexington Stakes (G3) earlier this season. His record improved to 4-1-2 in 10 career starts.

Pace indeed made this race.

The Ron Paolucci-owned Dare Day set the early fractions of 22.66 and 47.72, moving away to a two-length lead before he needed a breather up the backstretch. Then the race opened back up, with Math Wizard the one to put a head in front ahead through the far turn.

But Math Wizard ran wide enough at the top of the stretch to make room for Owendale, who drove through on the inside to strike as the race’s 3-5 betting favorite.

“I came here with a loaded gun,” the jockey Geroux said of Owendale, who returned $3.40 to win.

The Ohio Derby’s second choice, Long Range, Toddy, exited the Kentucky Derby to run third in Saturday’s field of six. He was wide up the back stretch and into the turn, finishing well back of the dueling top pair.

Darren Fleming, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen, said, “I don’t know what went wrong” with Long Range Toddy. “Yeah, a fast (opening quarter), but we were in the perfect position.”

“He broke good. Track was good,” added jockey Jon Court. “I’ve been watching the races all day, and the speed started backing up to me and I thought I’d open up down the lane. He did run down the lane pretty good, but he was just third best today. Those other two just kicked away.”

Global Campaign, another colt who figured to factor, scratched due to lingering foot issues.

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds

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