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Real Story Strong Start to Finish in American Derby
In dominating fashion it was Jeffrey S. Amling and Merriebelle Stable’s Real Story who captured the 104th running of the Grade III $100,000 American Derby for trainer Ignacio Correas, IV at Arlington International Racecourse on Saturday.
After hitting the gate at the start, the son of Fast Bullet set all the pace under “Jersey” Joe Bravo in the 1 1/8 miles event for 3-year-olds over a firm turf course. Posting fractions of 23.25, 47.45, 1:11.45, and 1:35.46, Real Story hit the stretch with a five-length lead over his seven rivals before the colt stopped the clock at 1:47.61 with a 1¾-lengths victory. Lothenbach Stables’ post-time wagering favorite Captivating Moon, trained by Chris Block, rallied from well off the pace with Florent Geroux in the irons to capture second by a neck over Michelle Lovell trainee Dubby Dubbie, ridden by Jack Gilligan for owners Emmet Jolley, Jack Randall and Mitch Butler.
“The plan was just don’t fight with him,” said Correas of Bravo’s ride. “We knew he was going to go to the lead; there was no speed. The only question was if he would relax enough to go a mile-and-an-eighth. He’s shown since he was a baby that he was a very good horse that needed time to mature and put it all together.”
“The horse (Real Story) just got away from us,” said Florent Geroux, jockey of runner-up Captivating Moon. “It’s hard when you ride a closer like him that doesn’t have much tactical speed so you are really at the mercy of what’s happening in front of you. He ran a great race, settled in nicely. Hopefully we get lucky at some point with a good pace.”
“He usually travels really strongly into the race,” said Jack Gilligan, jockey aboard third-place finisher Dubby Dubbie. “As soon as I switched to the right lead, he came running really well. It’s kind of an odd race for him, usually he takes me into the race easily whereas today he was struggling from quite far out. He still ran great race; he didn’t get beat by that far at all. It was just different for him.”
It was the first stakes victory for Real Story, who with the winner’s share of $58,200 elevated his career earnings $97,902. Winning for the third time in his sixth career start, Real Story paid $16.80, $6.60 and $4.40. Captivating Moon returned $3 and $2.20, while Dubby Dubbie paid $3.60.
The top three finishers receive a free entry with starting fees waived into the Grade I $400,000 Secretariat Stakes on Aug. 11.
Pont Du Gard, Tap Daddy, Kitten a Gettin, Ezmosh, and Proquestor completed the order of running.