PA Derby (Grade 1)- $1,000.000 Purse
PRX- For Three Year Olds
One Mile and One Eighth on the Dirt
September 23, 2017
As we get closer to the BC Classic, we are beginning to see who the biggest contenders will be in that race. We know who was best at certain points during the season, but the PA Derby provided a very good preview of what we could expect from the three year olds that will run in the Classic. Atomic Twister will be the favorite in that race, but he will have challengers, and it’s looking more and more like Clash Study is becoming the top threat. Admittedly, I did not have him as one of my picks, but as you may have been able to tell, I was going on a hunch that the PA Derby was going to be a moment for a horse that still needed a big win this fall. Others went with the hot horse, and Clash Study was a clear favorite for the race. Just not the angle I was taking for the race. On this day, Clash Study made sure that no one else was going to get PA Derby bragging rights, lived up to his role as the betting favorite, and brilliantly performed once again. Efforts like this will mean it won’t be easy for Atomic Twister in about five weeks. The winning trainer is Smokey Stover, and let’s give an extra shout out for him in not only being the winner of this race. His earnings for 2017 are almost exactly what his combined earnings were from 2009-2016. He has taken his game to a new level, something that many of us could probably see happening with some purchases that were made, but you still have to execute, and Smokey Stover has done exactly that. Congratulations to him on all that, in addition to this race win. It is his first win in the PA Derby, and the winning jockey is J R Velazquez. For him, it is his second win, having also won the inaugural edition. The time of victory was 1:47.83, which is among the quicker runnings of the race. Let’s look at it!
(½ Mile- :47.33)- The race starts with, wait, is that really Lord High Admiral going out to the front? The John Henry entry that we picked to win the race surprises pretty much everyone by jumping out to the early lead. Staying in range of him was Range Of The Sun, from Team 7 Illusions, and these two would show the way around the opening turn. Moving into the backstretch, they would have a length and a half lead over How To Laff (Serenity Stables) and Key To Success (Smokey Stover) as they each comfortably stayed on the rail from their inner two posts. Reigning KYD Champion Shootfromthehip (Nakamura Stables) was with them while running three wide, a half length back. Eventual race winner Clash Study is sixth, and four lengths off the pace for his trainer, Smokey Stover, while Laffin Parrot (Mo Mentum Farm) is to his outside. Profound Connection (Mb Stables) is next while on the rail, with Bronx Bomber (Aer Stables) to his outside. Slow starting Que Cosa (D J C Racing Stables), was in this mix as well. At the back, Hidden Slew Laff (Gdp Inc) was in closing mode.
(3/4 Mile- 1:11.00)- As the backstretch run continues, Lord High Admiral struggles to keep up with Range Of The Sun, and eventually the Team 7 Illusions entry shines through with the lead. It’s getting tighter at the front, though, as we move into the turn. Lord High Admiral looked like he might get swallowed up in the turn pretty badly. How To Laff and Key To Success kept running together, with Key To Success having a more clear run to the outside of Lord High Admiral. There was nothing wrong with Shootfromthehip’s trip here too, with nothing but daylight in front of him. Clash Study was still midpack with Laffin Parrot, as these two were about 3 and a half out. Que Cosa looked to make a very wide move around the turn, while the others were not showing much yet.
(Top Of Stretch, 1.5F To Go)- Things are getting tighter now on the front end as crunch time for the PA Derby nears. Smokey Stover’s other entry, Key To Success was looking pretty good here, handling the turn nicely and was part of a three wide group for the lead. Also here was How To Laff, who had been able to run a clean race to this point, and would never be hindered by the fading Lord High Admiral. He emerged here as a great threat there also, and Range Of The Sun was going his best to keep pace with them. Shootfromthehip was close to making it four wide for the lead, and was in a great position for him to show his striking power, if the wide lane did not do him in. Lurking in the middle of the field was Clash Study, and J R Velazquez did well to keep him out of potential trouble spots looming in the stretch. Laffin Parrot was trying to do the same, but had to go wide to do so. Lord High Admiral was back to seventh now with Bronx Bomber looking to make a late inning rally. Que Cosa’s very wide trip saw him make progress, but more would be needed. Profound Connection and Hidden Slew Laff hung out together at the back.
(Finish- 1:47.83)- How To Laff looked to make his winning move in the stretch, but in doing so he inadvertently moved down a lane. Clash Study says thank you very much for that, as he J R Velazquez would have had a tighter fit for him in order to squeeze through, but now that was no longer necessary, and Clash Study could show his talent to the fullest. There was just enough time for Clash Study to come on through and get by How To Laff to pick up the big win. How To Laff and Serenity Stables get a tough luck second there at the end. Finishing third would be Que Cosa, who really made that wide lane work in the stretch. If he did not have to cover so much extra race track, we’re talking about him being the winner here, I think, so keep that in mind if you see in the Classic with some higher odds. It was very tight after that for a few positions, but it is Shootfromthehip getting the fourth place check over Bronx Bomber, Laffin Parrot and the front running Range Of The Sun. Key To Success seemed destined for a better finish, but the trainer still get a win. The other three were disappointments and well off the pace. Hidden Slew Laff started running way too late. Lord High Admiral is next to last, as he did not enjoy being a frontrunner. Then we get to Profound Connection at the back in the most disappointing result of the day.
About The Winner- Clash Study, trained by Smokey Stover, and ridden by J R Velazquez, is a three year old gelding by Gsin, and out of Beyond The Stars. He was bred in California by Team 7 Illusions as a second quarter two year old, and was acquired by the trainer, via Downwind Stables, in private sales for $190.000 in late October 2016. Congratulations to the connections! Clash Study now has nine wins in 16 starts, and is 7-for-9 in 2017. It was his fourth graded victory, and his first Grade 1 win. His career earnings now sit at $1,986.260.
Time: :471 1:11 1:352 1:474
$2 Mutuel Prices:
$1 Exacta: 3 – 1 Paid 48.10
$1 Trifecta: 3 – 1 – 11 Paid 1,284.50
Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES