$50,000 Claim Dean Martini Earns $300,000 For Ohio Derby Win

Under a heady ride by Ricardo Mejias, Raise the BAR Racing LLC’s Dean Martini shot through an opening on the inside approaching the far turn, seized command from Lebda, then held off a late charge from South Bend to win Saturday’s Grade 3 Ohio Derby by three-quarters of a length at JACK Thistledown in North Randall, Ohio.

Dean Martini, a 3-year-old gelding by Cairo Prince out of Soundwave, by Friends Lake, covered 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:51.60 and $31.20 for the win. He is trained by Tom Amoss.

South Bend held second, two lengths ahead of 2-1 favorite Storm the Court in third, with Rowdy Yates fourth in the field of 13 following the scratches of Soros and Celtic Striker (who ran at Belmont Park on Thursday). Completing the order of finish were Sprawl (3-1 second choice), Lebda, Rogue Element, Unrighteous, Informative, Bear Alley, Code Runner, Established, and Dack Janiel’s.

The Ohio Derby winner, who was bred in Kentucky by Brereton C. Jones and Bret Jones and sold as a yearling to Rockingham Ranch for $220,000, earned 20 qualifying points for the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby.

Claimed for $50,000 two starts back from Brad Cox, Dean Martini earned $300,000 from the Ohio Derby’s $500,000 purse. It was his second victory from 10 starts in a career that began last summer in the stable of Peter Miller, who raced the gelding once at Ellis Park in Kentucky and three times in California without a win.

Dean Martini surfaced in the Cox barn at Fair Grounds in December, where he finished third in a maiden special race on turf. Cox shipped Dean Martini to Oaklawn in Arkansas, where he ran second and third in maiden special weight races, then won for the first time when dropped in for a $50,000 maiden claiming tag at Churchill Downs on May 17. He drew out by 6 3/4 lengths that day and was claimed by Amoss.

Dean Martini made one start since then, finishing second to Man in the Can in a June 12 allowance/optional claimer at Churchill Downs.

Breaking from the rail post position in the Ohio Derby, Dean Martini grabbed an early lead, then sat just off the pace as Rowdy Yates and Lebda volleyed for command through fractions of :22.80, :47.22 and 1:11.88.

Mejias urged Dean Martini through an opening on the inside to tackle Lebda approaching the far turn, dispatched that rival, then held sway to the finish after a mile was clocked in 1:38.22 en route to his final time of 1:51.60.

Updated Kentucky Derby points leaderboard

Ricardo Mejias celebrates the Ohio Derby win aboard Dean Martini

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