Strong core shaping up for next weekend's Ohio Derby

June 15, 2019 10:10am
Strong core shaping up for next weekend's Ohio Derby
Photo: Chelsea Durand/NYRA

The first in a series of lucrative midwest derbies following the Triple Crown series is shaping up well, with JACK Thistledown’s racing analyst and stakes coordinator Rich Ruda listing a strong core of possibilities for the June 22 Ohio Derby.

The track’s signature race — a Grade 3, $500,000 event — boasts as contenders the Kentucky Derby entrant Long Range Toddy; Owendale, who was third in the Preakness Stakes; and Global Campaign, Belmont Park’s Peter Pan Stakes (G3) winner.

Unbeaten Bethlehem Road, who on May 21 won the Parx Spring Derby, could also take another step up in class. The son of Quality Road has gone from maiden to allowance and then stakes winner in two months.

“We’ll probably have another five in it,” Ruda said. “We’ve got a couple other nice ones we’re still working on.”

Long Range Toddy defeated Improbable, the eventual betting favorite for both the Derby and Preakness, in Oaklawn Park’s Rebel Stakes (G2) earlier this season. The Willis Horton Racing homebred has worked consistently since the first Saturday in May for Steve Asmussen at Churchill Downs.

"He was sore when he came out of the Derby, and we gave him a little time off," Horton said last month. "But now he's doing great."

Owendale won Keeneland’s Lexington Stakes (G3) to put himself in Preakness contention. Trainer Brad Cox also saddled the race’s fourth-place finisher, the pace-setting Warrior’s Charge. They were his first Triple Crown runners.

Next race plans haven’t been announced for Warrior’s Charge, an impressive two-time Oaklawn winner earlier this year.

“It costs the same to ship one as it does two,” Ruda said. “I hope he comes.”

The connections of Global Campaign, another training at Churchill Downs, could use the Ohio Derby as a springboard to their summer goal, the Aug. 24 Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga. Global Campaign defeated the Belmont Stakes winner Sir Winston in his last start.

Bethlehem Road has had an “unbelievable” career, trainer Dee Curry told the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association after the last out win that made him 3-for-3.

“He was an ugly duckling who turned into this beautiful swan,” Curry added. “There’s such a story behind it that’s amazing how this horse has come around. At one time we never even thought this horse was going to make it to the races, and now he’s come to the races, and he seems to be getting better and better.”

The Ohio Derby draws Monday.


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