LOUISIANA DERBY | PURSE: $1 million | 3-YEAR-OLDS | GRADE 2 | 1 1/8 MILE
WinStar Farm's Revolutionary gamely fended off a stretch challenge from 19-1 longshot Mylute to land the centennial running of the Grade 2, $1 million Louisiana Derby on Saturday, giving trainer Todd Pletcher a third graded stakes win on the day at Fair Grounds and fifth overall on what was a tremendous day for the multiple Eclipse Award-winning conditioner.
Off a step slow and 12th early in the field of 14, Revolutionary saved ground to the backstretch when jockey Javier Castellano guided the colt to the far outside for an open path. Revolutionary remained wide as he made a strong, sweeping bid around the final turn, and then made the lead just before the eighth pole. Collared by Mylute inside the final furlong, Revolutionary had to dig deep to repel that challenge in the final strides to claim the victory by a neck.
The 2-1 favorite, Revolutionary paid $6.80, $4.20 and $3 after completing 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:50 1/5.
"He's a very brilliant horse, a smart horse. He's a three-year-old but he acted like a five- or six-year old," Castellano said. "In the first turn I saved all the ground and the last part when the other horses were backing out I had no choice, I went around all of the horses and it was very impressive the way he did it."
"He broke a little slow, which he's been known to do in the past," added Whit Beckman, assistant to Todd Pletcher. "Javier just recovered from there, got him out, took him wide down the backside, just steadily picking off horses and making up ground. He continued his move around the turn and came down to the end for the stretch and had to get down and ride him pretty hard but was able to get him there.
"He galloped out pretty well after the wire too so that shows a little extra distance shouldn't bother him."
Mylute finished a clear second, three lengths ahead of Departing. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to Golden Soul, who was followed under the wire by Ground Transport, Code West, Palace Malice, Sunbeam, Titletown Five, Proud Strike, Hip Four Sixtynine, Nina's Dragon, Brazilian Court and Whiskey Bravo.
The early pace of the Louisiana Derby was set by Hip Four Sixtynine, who got the opening quarter in :22 4/5, and Titletown Five, who ran the half in :46 1/5 and the three-quarters in 1:11 4/5.
Revolutionary placed in his first three starts sprinting before breaking his maiden by an eye-catching 8 1/2-length margin in his two-turn debut at Aqueduct on December 28. He returned to captured the Grade 3 Withers over the same track on February 2, overcoming a slow start and severe traffic to win by a neck. His record now stands at 6-3-1-2, $788,500.
Revolutionary is from the first crop of 2007 champion two-year-old colt War Pass, who carried his speed to wins in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Champagne, but it's no surprise to see the dark bay colt relish longer distances given the stamina influences in his outstanding female family.
Bred in Kentucky by Will Farish, Revolutionary hails from an outstanding female family. His dam, the A.P. Indy mare Runup the Colors, won the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes at 1 1/4 miles in 1997 and finished second in a pair of Grade 1 events, the Spinster and Ballerina, in 1998. She is also the dam of Grade 2 runner-up Tafaseel and Runup the Colors is out of the Grade 2-winning mare Up the Flagpole, who produced four graded/group stakes winners including Broodmare of the Year Prospectors Delite, the dam of Horse of the Year Mineshaft and multiple Grade 1 queen Tomisue's Delight.
After initially selling for $80,000 at the 2011 Keeneland September sale, Revolutionary was purchased by WinStar for $235,000 at last year's OBS March two-year-old sale.