How mid-Atlantic fan favorites fared on Florida Derby day
Page McKenney, here winning the 2017 Native Dancer Stakes at Laurel, was fourth today at Gulfstream. Photo by Laurie Asseo.
by Frank Vespe
A number of horses popular with mid-Atlantic racing fans ran in graded stakes on Florida Derby day at Gulfstream Park Saturday afternoon. Here’s how they fared:
- Page McKenney — The popular claimer-turned-millionaire for trainer Mary Eppler ran fourth in the day’s first graded stake, the $300,000, Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Hardacres Mile. Under Irad Ortiz, Jr., the eight-year-old was last early in the main-track test before rallying mildly to earn fourth. His earnings in the event pushed Page McKenney, a Pennsylvania-bred owned by Adam Staple and his breeders, who race as Jalin Stable, past $1.8 million in earnings. Among the other notables in a race won by 12-1 outsider Conquest Big E were 2017 Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming, who finished second, and…
- Irish War Cry — The New Jersey-bred, who won the Grade 2 Wood Memorial last spring before running second in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, went off the 9-5 favorite for trainer Graham Motion in the Hardcares Mile but had no response before being eased to last by jockey Jose Ortiz. Irish War Cry is owned by his breeder, Isabelle De Tomaso.
- One Go All Go — The Virginia-bred turf specialist ran a big one in the Grade 2 Pan American, leading for a long way under Chris Landeros before settling for second, almost three lengths behind winner Hi Happy but a half-length ahead of the rest of the field. Trained by Charles “Scooter” Dickey for Rodney Paden, One Go All Go was bred in the Commonwealth by Albert P. Coppola and achieved his top victory to date when he won the 2015 Commonwealth Derby — originally the Virginia Derby — at Laurel Park.
- Sadler’s Joy — Though not technically a Virginia-bred, this son of Kitten’s Joy grew up in the Old Dominion and was bred and is owned by the Fauquier County-based Woodslane Farm. He went off the 9-5 favorite in the Pan American. Under Julien Leparoux, the Tom Albertrani trainee was last early before coming wide and rallying, but it was too little, too late, and he ended up fourth. Sadler’s Joy, a Grade 1 winner and defending champ entering this event, has more thn $1.3 million in earnings.
- Catholic Boy — Trained by Virginia native Jonathan Thomas, Catholic Boy entered this afternoon’s Grade 1 Florida Derby needing at minimum a top three finish to lock up a spot in the Kentucky Derby. He didn’t get it. Under Irad Ortiz, Jr., Catholic Boy found a good spot early, biding his time mid-flight while Promises Fulfilled and Strike Power slugged it out through grueling early fractions, including an absurd opening quarter-mile of 21.95 seconds for the 1 1/8 mile distance. But Catholic Boy couldn’t parlay the good trip into much impact late, while favored Audible drew off to a three-length win. Catholic Boy finished fourth, a dozen lengths behind the winner.