Calumet’s Hence Surprises At 10-1 In Sunland Derby

Brad Kelley's Calumet Farm-owned and bred sophomore Hence came away with a 3 3/4-length victory in Sunday's G3 Sunland Derby for trainer Steve Asmussen, surprising bettors at odds of 10-1. The son of Street Boss, piloted by local rider Alfredo Juarez, Jr., covered nine furlongs in 1:48.10 on the fast main track at Sunland, earning 50 points and a nearly guaranteed spot in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby.

Hence broke fairly slowly from the ninth post in the $800,000 Sunland Derby's 12-horse field, and Juarez allowed him to settle and find his stride near the rear of the field, just two paths off the rail. Up in front were Hedge Fund and the post-time favorite Bronze Age, rocketing through a first quarter in :22.26 before Bronze Age backed off the give Hedge Fund a one-length advantage. They were followed by Shareholder Value, Dilettante, and local favorite Conquest Mo Money, the latter of which had had to go four-wide all the way around the first turn and was still very wide down the backstretch.

Juarez kept moving up steadily on Hence all the way up the backstretch, electing to take the colt wide rather than risk the traffic on the inside. Bronze Age quickly dropped out of contention near the half-mile pole, leaving Hedge Fund alone on the lead for a time. Conquest Mo Money moved up alongside Hedge Fund in short order, putting away that rival turning for home. At the half-mile pole, however, Juarez had asked Hence for run and he was responding with gallant enthusiasm, flying around a nearly six-wide wall of horses to be right on top of Conquest Mo Money at the head of the lane.

Conquest Mo Money made a valiant effort to stay with Hence down the lane, but Hence was able to put him away by the sixteenth pole, galloping home easily to score by 3 3/4 lengths at the wire. The win was the first graded stakes win for jockey Juarez since the 2006 Dallas Turf Cup with Trial by Jury.

Conquest Mo Money had to settle for second in Sunday's Sunland Derby, and Hedge Fund was able to stay on for third. Irap got up to finish fourth.

Bred in Kentucky by his owner's Calumet Farm, Hence is out of the placed mare Floating Island, by A.P. Indy. Calumet purchased the mare for $55,000 at the 2013 Keeneland November Sale with Hence in utero at the time of purchase. It took Hence four starts to figure out the racing game, finally breaking his maiden at Oaklawn Park in January to kick off his 3-year-old year. He finished seventh in Oaklawn's Southwest Stakes in his next start, beaten 13 lengths by One Liner. The victory in the Sunland Derby is just Hence's second lifetime win from six starts, and boosts his earnings to over $500,000.

Calumet now has three horses making a play for spots in the Kentucky Derby starting gate; Hence is clearly at the top with 50 points, but fellow homebreds Sonneteer and Wild Shot are also in contention. Sonneteer has 20 points from his runner-up finish in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn for trainer Kent Desormeaux, and Wild Shot currently has 17 points from a combination of placings in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and both of Tampa Bay Downs' Derby preps for trainer Rusty Arnold.

Here are the updated point standings after this weekend's three prep races: Road to the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard

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The post Calumet’s Hence Surprises At 10-1 In Sunland Derby appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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