(Field Day had a big night on Churchill Downs’ Opening Night of racing / Coady Photography)
From the Churchill Downs Media Team:
Field Day, ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, stumbled at the break and was in relegated to eighth up the backstretch behind a swift :22.51 early quarter-mile from pacesetter Bodenheimer. Gaffalione had Field Day positioned at the rail but switched to the three path to begin his charge at the leader. Around the far turn, following a half-mile fraction of :45.72, Gaffalione tipped Field Day to the outside and made a bold rally down the center of the track to get past Bodenheimer at the wire.
Field Day completed the 5 ½-furlong journey in 1:05.63 on the listed “good” Matt Winn Turf Course.
“We were a little worried leaving the starting gate when she stumbled,” said Cox, who is the trainer of early Derby favorite Essential Quality. “With only going a short distance, positioning is always key. She settled in nicely around the turn and was able to run down a rally game horse on the front end.”
Field Day, who was the 9-5 post time favorite, paid $5.60, $3.60 and $3.20. Bodenheimer, with jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard, returned $7 and $3.80. Cees Get Degrees, at odds of 29-1, finished third under Colby Hernandez and paid $8.80.
Rockstar Ro, Into the Sunrise, Sasim, Unitedandresolute and Lookin for Loki completed the running order.
Field Day is a 3-year-old bay gelding by Broken Vow out of the Stormy Atlantic mare Sunny Isles.
Kentucky Derby Week continues Tuesday for live racing at 12:45 p.m. Tickets are available at www.churchilldowns.com/tickets.
WILLIAM WALKER QUOTES
Brad Cox, trainer of FIELD DAY (winner): “We were a little worried leaving the starting gate when she stumbled. With only going a short distance, positioning is always key. She settled in nicely around the turn and was able to run down a rally game horse on the front end. Tyler gave her a great ride and we’re really happy for Richard (Klein). It was good to kick off such a big week like that. We have a lot of excitement and anticipation around the barn and that was a good start to the week. Let’s keep it going.”
Brian Hernandez Jr., jockey of BODENHEIMER (runner-up): “We won the battle but lost the war. He’s a fast horse and he set his own fractions and I thought he was going to be able to hold on with the rail being out. He’s a speedy horse so the plan was to go. He left on the button and that’s his thing.”