The 36th running of the Equination.net Derby took place on Sunday May 6th, and what a stellar race it turned out to be! The race was contested at 1-¼ miles on a slow track, for 17 worthy 3 year old battling for the lion’s share of the $1,250,000.00 purse. This race took on added importance because of the absence of Around n’Around, the GII Silver Platter winner with his 130 HRR was held out in favor of recent 131.10 HRR Gold Luck by owner RowdyRacing23. This had to be an agonizing decision created by a wealth of talented youngsters for RowdyRacing23. As the gates opened it was Omasan’s Farm homebred Grey’s Pal (5th place in the GII Silver Platter Stakes) who broke on top hotly pursed by Taliska Racing Stud’s homebred Taliska Hel and Nordica’s homebred Big Generator.
The pace setters maintained their positions for over 6 furlongs. At this point, Taliska Hel and Big Generator began to tire and Blojo (8th place finisher in the Wild and Handsome Classic) from owner walker racing and Code Red (winner of the GIII Wild and Handsome Classic) from owner Finally Farm started the push from the back of the pack in 13th and 14th place respectively. Blojo’s powerful closing punch brought him level with the pacesetter Grey’s Pal at the 8 furlong pole and he had a clear lead at the 1/8 pole while increasing his lead to win by ¾ length at the wire.
As for pacesetter Grey’s Pal, he was very gutsy and determined and held off the fast closing Code Red to hold down the second spot by a desperate head in a three-way photo for 2nd place! Code Red in turn, held onto the 3rd slot by a head over Bigfoot xmdfm (5th place finisher in the GIII Wild and Handsome Classic), a homebred from Dancer Stable.
Returning to winner Blojo, a son of Chimneys SexyBack and the dam I Want A Limey For Easter and was purchased on new years day from previous owner The Eden, by current owner walker racing. He established a HRR of 127.60 and a creditable final time of 2:00.15 on the slow and tiring track. This was his first graded victory in his third attempt. His best finish to date was a fifth place finish in the GII Cherry Blossom Stakes as a 2 year old. Bojo has $1,217,000.00 in lifetime earning from 7 wins and 2 seconds form 11 starts. In addition, his yearly earnings of $900,000.00 has him leading all horses including his age group in yearly earnings. His connections will no doubt point the leading contender towards the second leg of the Triple Crown, the G1 $1,000,000.00 Paramount Stakes on May 20, 2012!
Second place finisher Grey’s Pal is a son of ISLAND Sorrell Pal Chex and the dam Kenjian’s Fury wmd from Omasan Farm. He has a 4-1-1-1 graded record with his second place finish, pushed his overall earnings to $632,675.00 with 4 wins, 2 seconds and a 3rd from 8 starts with $343,000.00 from stakes earnings this year. If healthy, he will no doubt be pointed to the second leg of the Triple Crown, the G1 $1,000,000.00 Paramount Stakes on May 20, 2012, seeking redemption.
Third place finisher Code Red is out of sire Maximum Code MDm and dam Zenno Green Red Gold from owner Finally Farm. He established his HRR of 126.90 in the race. This was his second graded placing in as many try. He won the G111 Wild and Handsome Classic in his previous start. He now has earnings of $658,500.00 (from never been off the board in 10 starts) with $342,500.00 from earnings this season. He is also an excellent competitor for the G1, $1,000,000.00 Paramount Stakes on May 20, 2012.
As a footnote the question now begs the answer! Will Around n’Around be around to challenge Blojo and others in the second leg of the Triple Crown, the G1 $1,000,000.00 Paramount Stakes? Or will Gold Dust who did not care for the slow going and finished a well beaten 9th 3 ¼ lengths behind the winner, make a return? My bet is on Around n’Around who won overnight Listed Stake 4 days before the Derby, is undefeated in 4 starts this year and now has yearly stakes earnings of $576,000.00. However, we will see. The owner is holding the stacked desk! Tune in later on the Triple crown Trail for all the answers including Blojo’s Quest!