|Hawthorne Derby recap
Contact: Jim Miller (708) 780-3700
FLYING DASH WINS HAWTHORNE DERBY
There were only two surprises in Saturday's Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby. First of all they let Flying Dash off at a generous 1-2. Secondly Scooter Roach, easily the longest shot on the board, probably ran the race of his life, at least to this point.
Third choice Quest Star and Scooter Roach locked up in a speed duel almost immediately after leaving the gate. They raced neck and neck until early in the stretch when Quest Star tired a bit.
Scooter Roach inherited the lead but he didn't hold it for long. Favored Flying Dash -- owned by Fusao Sekiguchi of Fusaichi Pegasus fame and trained by Neil Drysdale -- had been tracking the pace along the rail. But when Quest Star started to tire he came out a bit and Victor Espinoza immediately sent "Dash" through on the inside. At this point the race was essentially over. He won the race by three lengths without expending much effort.
Surprisingly, however, Scooter Roach wasn't finished. Jesse Campbell went to work on him and "Roach" dug in. He wasn't a match for Flying Dash but he did finish almost four lengths clear of the third-place finisher, Quest Star.
Jesse Campbell, the rider of Scooter Roach, was thrilled, and a little surprised, about his mount's performance. "I was a bit surprised at the way he ran. How could you not be? I really didn't know that much about him. I'd ridden him in his last couple of wins. I know he won a couple of his races convincingly but he never really impressed me as this type. He's made a lot of improvements. His confidence is big right now. He might have been helped by the very soft turf. He handled it very well."
"I knew the pace was slow so I let him lay up close. What they gave me I took. Sometimes over the yielding turf course the speed carries. He made the most of it."
Jockey Victor Espinoza, who won the Kentucky Derby a week ago aboard War Emblem, and who was the pilot of winner Flying Dash, loved the way his colt ran. "He won pretty easy. I just had to give him a little push when we turned for home. We ran through a little hole on the inside. I let him go and he just ran through. I wasn't worried when we didn't have any room. When you have that kind of horse you shouldn't have to worry. He's good enough to find his own holes. He's a push button kind of horse. You just have to let him through.
"I think he could be one of the best turf horses around. He has a very good future."
That sounds like an understatement.
They completed the mile and an eighth, over a soft turf course, in 1:58.88 after fractions of 24:22; 52.60; 1:19.40; and 1:46.40.
3-Flying Dash $3.00; $2.20; $2.10
$2 Exacta (3-2) $59.40; $2 Trifecta (3-2-1) $201.80; $2 Superfecta (3-2-1-6) $826.00