We've been looking for a dominant Derby performance. We finally got one.
Eskendereya totally dominated the Fountain of Youth with an 8 1/2 length victory over Jackson Bend, who was 3/4 of a length ahead of Aikenite in third.
Lost Aptitude jumped to the lead allowing Eskendereya to sit back in second in a bit of a garden trip. Turning for home, Lost Aptitude gave way, allowing Eskendereya to inherit the lead. There was no stopping him from there, as he powered away from Jackson Bend.
Below are the original quotes from Gulfstream:
Todd Pletcher (Eskendereya) – “You’ve got to be excited when they perform like that in these kind of races at this time of year. I was particularly pleased with the way he finished. I don’t think we’ve ever gotten to the bottom of him. We threw a lot at him in the Breeders’ Cup (Juvenile) in just his third start and first on synthetic. In the first turn I knew he had no chance. He was jostled badly and sandwiched between horses. At one point I don’t think any of his feet were touching the ground (finished 9th beaten 6 ½ lengths by winner). He’s had two wins over the track here now, so the Florida Derby would seem logical for him, but we will consider all the options.”
John Velazquez (jockey, Eskendereya, 1st) – “I didn’t want to take too good a hold of him out of the gate, and I got to a point early on the backstretch where I started to move forward with him. I was hoping that I didn’t take too much out of him. Obviously I didn’t, because he went on, and did it very well. It was great feeling when he kicked in and accelerated away from them. He galloped out really well, and I hope he can learn to relax just a bit more in the first part of the race. If he does, I don’t think he’ll have any trouble going further.”
Jeremy Rose (jockey, Jackson Bend, 2nd) – “My horse ran his heart out. The two-horse (Buddy’s Saint) never got in our way, he sort of just bounced off the rail but we stayed clear of that.”
Jose Lezcano (jockey, Buddy’s Saint, 9th) - “The other horses came in like nothing (on the first turn). I was already in a spot, and they came in and killed my horse; put him into the rail. He came back a little bit to run, but I was out of the race by then because of what happened.”
The complete order of finish was:
2. Jackson Bend
4. Pleasant Prince
5. Ice Box
7. Positive Split
8. Prince Will I Am
9. Buddy's Saint
10. Lost Aptitude