Emory Hamilton’s homebred Hungry Island collared Tapitsfly
at the eighth pole and then drew off to win the 27th running
of the $223,400 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Presented by American Commercial
Lines (Grade II) by a length on Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Shug McGaughey and
ridden by John Velazquez, Hungry Island ran the mile on a Matt Winn Turf
Course labeled as “good” in 1:36.20.
Daisy Devine, winner of all four of her career starts on turf, led the
field of seven through fractions of :24.78 and :48.68 with Marketing Mix
and Tapitsfly in closest pursuit.
At the head of the lane, Ramon
Dominguez sent Tapitsfly to the lead with Velazquez swinging Hungry Island
five wide from the back of the pack. Hungry Island drew even at midstretch and
then pulled away for her first victory since the Lake Placid (GII) in August at
The victory was worth $135,738 to
Hungry Island, a 4-year-old daughter of More Than Ready out of the A.P. Indy
mare Flying Passage, and increased her bankroll to $390,770 with a record of
Hungry Island returned mutuels of
$13.80, $6.40 and $4.60. Tapitsfly returned $6 and $3.80 with La Reine
Lionne finishing 1 ½ lengths back in third under Javier Castellano
and paying $5 to show.
Favored Marketing Mix finished 1 ½
lengths back in fourth and was followed in order by Daisy Devine, Heavenly
Landing and City to City.
DISTAFF TURF MILE QUOTES
JOHN VELAZQUEZ (Jockey, Hungry
Island, first) – “Perfect trip. Everything worked
out great. I asked her and she responded. She had a quick spurt when I had her
out in the stretch and that was really nice. I’m happy to be back here at the
Derby. Last year was such a whirlwind. I had a mount, I didn’t have a mount.
Then I wound up winning. It was an incredible whirlwind of emotions. It’s
almost surreal but I’m happy to be back.
“(Trainer) Shug (McGaughey) has been
so good to me over the years. Every time he has a good horse come along, he’s
given me the opportunity to ride. I’m very grateful to what he’s done for my
career and to his entire staff. It’s well-deserved for them to win a race like
this on Derby Day.”
SHUG MCGAUGHEY (Trainer, Hungry
Island, first) – “I don’t think she needed it (her
last race at Keeneland on April 11). Johnny (Velazquez) had never ridden her
before and there was some stuff going on in the race and he felt like he needed
to get out of it or he’d get carried wide, but probably moved just a little
soon on her. I think knowing her today he just waited, and once he asked her it
was over with.
“She’s run behind a fast pace, slow
pace, she’s just a really nice filly. She’s got a little short kick and the
race at Keeneland set her up for this one.
“I will enjoy stretching her out
when the time comes. I’ll see how she comes out of it. I won’t be stretching
her out there but maybe the Just a Game on Belmont Day (GI, $500,000 at one
mile on turf, June 9). If we run in the Just a Game her next start after that
would be the Diana (GI, $600,000 at 1 1/8 miles on turf, July 28).”
RAMON DOMINGUEZ (Jockey, Tapitsfly, second) – "The race
unfolded much like we had hoped and she settled for me pretty good early on.
When I called on her for run around the turn she responded nicely but the
winner ran very strong down the lane. My filly ran pretty good though and I
appreciate the opportunity to ride for Dale (Romans)."
DALE ROMANS (Trainer, Tapitsfly,
second) – “I didn’t see any excuses. She
ran a fine race. This track crew knows what they’re doing. The turf course is
in amazing shape for as much rain as we got. That’s why they are the best in