Pico d'Oro steps up and earns diploma in Ellis Park Juvenile

Pico d'Oro steps up and earns diploma in Ellis Park Juvenile
Photo: Coady Photography

Pico d’Oro broke his maiden on third asking Sunday when winning the $100,000 Ellis Park Juvenile, though the race was marred by a catastrophic injury suffered by Libertyrun.

A 2-year-old son of race sponsor Runhappy, Libertyrun became his sire’s first winner on debut July 8 at Indiana Grand Race Course. He entered the Ellis Park Juvenile as a 10-1 longshot for trainer Laura Wohlers and breeder/owner James McIngvale.

Per the race chart, Libertyrun “went wrong late in the stretch, fell and was vanned off after the race.” 

McIngvale’s Gallery Racing team announced on Twitter shortly after that Libertyrun was euthanized. The team also reported that jockey Miguel Mena was OK after the incident.

Winner Pico d’Oro entered the day with finishes of sixth and second out of two starts. He made his third start in the Ellis Park Juvenile, a seven-furlong dirt trip that drew a field of seven.

Cowan, a Steve Asmussen trainee, broke from post No. 1 on Sunday as the 4-5 favorite. He and Medicine Tail moved together for a quarter-mile in :22.29, with the latter taking the lead through a half-mile in :45.64.

Medicine Tail turned for home in front and opened up a four-length lead, but Pico d’Oro and jockey Joe Talamo were coming hard on the outside. The 9-2 shot got up in time, moving on to a 1½-length victory in 1:23.95.

“The pace was pretty solid up front for us, and he ran them down,” Talamo said. “Very professional too. For breaking his maiden in a stakes, I definitely think he’s got a real bright future.”

Pico d’Oro returned $11.20 in the Ellis Park Juvenile, a race whose most notable winner was 2016 hero Lookin At Lee, runner-up of the 2017 Kentucky Derby. Medicine Tail and Perfect Mistake rounded out Sunday’s trifecta.

William Morey trains Pico d’Oro, a Curlin colt out of the Bernardini mare Michelle d’Oro. 

Owner Gerald Sandin purchased the Kentucky-bred for $255,000 this March in an Ocala 2-year-old sale. Pico d’Oro is owner Sandin’s first horse.

“He’s a good friend of mine,” Morey said of Sandin. “We played Little League baseball together 30 years ago, and this was the first horse we ever bought. So I’m really happy for him, mostly. He was a big part of picking this race and pointing for it and the horse did the race.”

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