21 GP The FL Derby (GI) [KYD]
$1,000.000 3yo 1 1/8m Dirt 122lbs
It was over quicker than it took the gate crew to load them into the starting gate… constant rain in SoFla made the going sloppy, and we all know what that means at HRP… longshots and mud-lovers – or BOTH. Mr Pancake secured the lead before they could complete the short run to the clubhouse turn and the Arindel owned cruised around the wet GP track, leading every step of the way to take The FL Derby (GI) by three lengths in a final time of 1:532, securing his ticket to Louisville. Come to Poppa tracked the leader at every call, but couldn’t get any closer, settling for the runner up spot. It was another length to The Martian, and three more to Hilarity taking the minor money.
The field loaded into the gate right on the finish line, and were away in good order with Mr Pancake bouncing right out and moving to the rail to take the early advantage. The Martian showing speed from the rail, Come To Papa next to that one, then the trio of Knockout from the outside, the Greek along the rail and Sunshine Scooter between that pair, Sicilia Authority from the outside, back towards the inside for Fifty Lucky, Hardline Cobra skimming the rail, then Bruddafrmanuddamudda, Tiz Chai, Uranus and Hilarity was the early trailer.
Around the first turn and onto the backside with six furlongs to run, Mr Pancake opened up a two and a half length lead. The Martian from the rail, Come To Poppa between horses and Sunshine Scooter three wide, all giving chase. Another gap to Sicilia Authority on the outside of Fifty Lucky, another length and a half to Knockout, The Greek on his inside, another length to Tiz Chai, Bruddafrmanuddamudda on the outside, Hardline Cobra on the inside, Hilarity out wider and post time favorite Uranus could see them all.
Making their way down the backside and now into the far turn with three and a half furlongs to run, Mr Pancake splish-splashing along, leading by three, Come To Poppa on the outside of The Martian, Sunshine Scooter backing out of it a bit, Sicilia Authority on the outside of Fifty Lucky, then a gap to Knockout, Bruddafrmanuddamudda towards the outside, The Greek on the inside, then out widest to Hilarity, another length to Tiz Chai, Uranus out the outside of that one and Hardline Cobra was now the trailer.
Swing around the turn and into the lane, they were moving past the furlong marker and Mr Pancake still had everything his way, leading by a comfortable two lengths. Come To Poppa and the Martian still giving chase, Sicilia Authority with Fifty Lucky, Knockout and Hilarity from the extreme outside, Bruddafrmanuddamudda between that pair. Down towards the inside for The Greek, Uranus trying to find more from the outside, then Tiz Chai, Hardline Cobra and Sunshine Scooter.
Deep stretch and this race could have been called mid-way on the first turn… Mr Pancake on cruise control and going under the wire clear by two and a half lengths. Come To Poppa was second, then a length back to The Martian in third, three more to Hilarity closing for the fourth spot. Fifty Lucky and Sicilia Authority in a dead-heat for fifth, Bruddafrmanuddamudda seventh, The Greek eighth, Knockout ninth, Uranus tenth, Tiz Chai eleventh, Hardline Cobra twelfth and Sunshine Scooter closed this one out.
Mr Pancake is a 3yo black cold by Commanding The Storm – Atomic Tangerine, by Ferro, and he ws bred in NY by his owner, Arindel. This was his third win from five starts, his first win of the ’22 season, and it couldn’t have happened on a bigger stage. He now has lifetime earnings of $942.000, and you have to believe the connections will be hoping for rain in KY, the first Saturday in May. Congrats to the connections!
Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES, TC 2021-2022, THE TRIPLE CROWN
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