Tawny Port rallies to win the Ohio Derby under Irad Ortiz

Tawny Port rallies to win the Ohio Derby under Irad Ortiz
Photo: JJ Zamaiko Photography

The Brad Cox barn continues to have success with its 3-year-olds as Tawny Port became the most recent stakes winner, taking home the Grade 3, $500,000 Ohio Derby on Saturday.

Click here for Thistledown entries and results

On June 12, Cox won the Matt Winn at Churchill Downs with Cyberknife. Seven days later, it was the Pegasus at Monmouth Park with Home Brew. It's now a trio of 3-year-old stakes wins in three weeks. Some combination of that powerhouse will likely face off in either the Haskell or the Travers later this summer. Fast fractions set by longshot Pineapple Man dueling with third-place-finisher Classic Causeway set up nicely for Tawny Port's late run over the Thistledown dirt track. Pineapple Man beat the field to the first call in 22.82 seconds, but then Classic Causeway led the next two in 47.08 and 1:11.08 for six furlongs. Tracking in third to that point, it was White Abarrio who made the first move to pass the front-runners. But having settled nicely on the rail in fifth, Irad Ortiz Jr. on Tawny Port followed on the turn and beat White Abarrio to the lead at the top of the stretch. Powering down the center of the track, Tawny Port got to the wire first in 1:50.46 to win by one length over White Abarrio. The Trifecta was flush with Kentucky Derby runners, as Classic Causeway finished 1 1/4 lengths back in third.

Tawny Port, a Pioneerof the Nile colt bred by WinStar Farm, began his career winning his first two races on Turfway Park’s synthetic. Cox decided to push Tawny Port into the deep end for his third race, finishing fifth in the Risen Star (G2) over Fair Grounds dirt track. But two starts later he won the Lexington (G3), punching his ticket for the Kentucky Derby, where he ran well to finish seventh under Ricardo Santana Jr.. It was the best performance of Cox’s Derby trio, which also included Cyberknife and Zozos. It's rare you see New York-based Ortiz get the call for the Kentucky-based Cox barn. He was legged-up for just the 10th time on a horse for Cox in 2022. Similar to the Kentucky Derby, Cox will likely have multiple entries in the sport’s premiere second-half of the season 3-year-old stakes. Ortiz made the most of his day, winning three races on the card. Barely edging out White Abarrio (1.50 to 1) for favoritism, Tawny Port was sent off at 1.30-1 and paid $4.60.

Top Stories

Saratoga continues to suffer from short fields. Fo...
Louisville, Ky. If the question is who will train...
Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Q: Talk about D. Wayne Luka...
Louisville, Ky. There was a time long ago when the...
Horse Racing Nation 's Andrew Capone will be hitti...
x