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Rookie Sensation Runs Like a Pro in Twilight Derby

Santa Anita Park
With an eye-catching late rush in deep stretch, Rookie Sensation split horses in the shadow of the wire and took Friday’s Grade II, $150,000 Twilight Derby under Victor Espinoza by one length, getting 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:46.64.

Off at 8-1 in a field of 13, Rookie Sensation broke from post five and was keen with Espinoza at the rail into the Club House turn, as he sat six lengths off the lead in eighth position.  Espinoza scraped paint turning for home and angled out late to overhaul Dry Summer and Gervinho after tracking fractions of 23.91, 47.76, 1:11.28 and 1:34.89.


“I just wanted to let my horse do his thing in the beginning, and from the last three-eighths of a mile, I tried to make my way in between horses,” said Espinoza.  “Sometimes there are different strategies in a race, but I did not have any other options because of the way the race set up.  I sneaked in on the inside and everything worked out very nice today.

“Once I got my position I knew I would definitely win the race.  He’s been a nice horse in his last few races.  He always runs unbelievable races…Each race he is getting better and better.”

Owned by Frank Stronach and bred in Kentucky by his Adena Springs, Rookie Sensation paid $18.20, $7.80 and $6.00.  A 3-year-old colt by Unbridled’s Song, he picked up $90,000 for the win, increasing his earnings to $183,050.  Lightly raced, his record now stands at 5-3-1-0.

“We liked this horse quite a bit and wanted to bring him along slowly, so we tried to space his races appropriately,” said winning trainer John Shirreffs.

Next-to-last with a half mile to run, 5-2 favorite Gabriel Charles was caught four-wide at the top of the stretch and finished with a flourish be second, a half-length in front of Gervinho.

Ridden by Mike Smith, Gabriel Charles paid $4.60 and $3.20.

Gervinho, off at 5-1 with Rafael Bejarano, sat a close third throughout and couldn’t hold off the 1-2 finishers late, as he ran third, a head in front of pacesetting Dry Summer and Joel Rosario.

Gervinho, the lone California-bred in the field, paid $4.00 to show.

 


 

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