California-bred Rousing Sermon
, a Kentucky Derby hopeful a year and a half ago, made short work of five rivals in Thursday’s $54,000 Covered Bridge Allowance Purse, beating heavily favored Blue Tone by 2 ¼ lengths while getting 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.03.
Owned and bred by Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams and trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, the 4-year-old colt by Lucky Pulpit sat second behind pacesetting longshot Circle the Moon through splits of 23.03, 46.92, 1:11.41 and took command at the top of the stretch under Julien Leparoux, getting the mile in 1:36.69.
“I thought the last time the favorite ran (a first-condition allowance score at Del Mar, winning by 2 ¾ lengths Aug. 31) it was really a set-up, pace wise,” said Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward. “We had a speed horse in there and he went to the lead and kind of stopped, and it set it up for him (Blue Tone)…Julien rode a very smart race today. He put him into the race once he knew there was no pace, perfect.”
For Leparoux, it was his first time aboard Rousing Sermon, who finished eighth in the 2012 Kentucky Derby.
“Once we took the lead he was waiting on the other horses, so I eased up on him and he ran big today,” said Leparoux.
The second choice at 3-1, Rousing Sermon paid $8.00, $3.00 and $2.20. With the winner’s share of $42,120, he hiked his bankroll to $609,222. His overall mark now stands at 21-4-4-6.
Blue Tone, with Mike Smith up, broke from the rail as the 4-5 favorite and sat mid pack to the top of the lane and was clearly second best, finishing 8 ¼ lengths clear of American Act and Gary Stevens.
“He ran good, no excuses,” said Smith. “He should get better off of this. He’s still young.”
Blue Tone paid $2.40 and $2.10.
American Act, the third choice at 3-1, rallied four-wide at the top of the lane but never threatened the top pair while finishing 2 ¼ lengths in front of longshot Royal F J. He paid $2.40 to show.
There was one winning ticket in the Pick Six Thursday, paying $66,565. The singleton was purchased through the Lewiston, Maine wagering hub.
There is a carryover into Friday’s Super High Five of $24,296. The Super High Five requires players to select the first five finishers in each day’s final race.