French-Bred Wootton Asset Takes New Kent County Virginia Derby; Flippant Rallies In Oaks On Record Wagering Day

Winning for the first time In the U.S. since leaving his native France last year, Madaket Stables LLC’s Wootton Asset extricated himself from traffic moving around the far turn, took command in the stretch and then held off a late rally from Slicked Back to win Tuesday’s Grade 3, $250,000 New Kent County Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs in New Kent, Virginia.

Trained by H. Graham Motion and ridden by Jose Ortiz, Wootton Asset – a 3-year-old colt by Wootton Bassett – finished three-quarters of a length to the good of the Brad Cox-trained Slicked Back and jockey Fernando De La Cruz. It Can Be Done finished another 1 3/4 lengths back in third, and he was followed by Hidden Energy, 2-1 favorite Experienced, Indian Lake, Draft Capital, Doubleoseven, Eye of the Cat and Search for Truth.

Time for the 1 1/8 miles on a firm turf course was 1:46.79. Wootton Asset paid $11.20 to win as the second choice in the wagering.

Wootton Asset, making his sixth start in the U.S. since last October, saved ground early while racing in seventh position as Indian Lake established a moderate early pace, with fractions of :23.96, :48.13 and 1:11.24 for the opening six furlongs.

Rounding the far turn, Ortiz angled Wootton Asset to the outside from a tight spot along the rail and went five wide into the stretch. He seized the advantage just outside of the eighth pole after a mile in 1:34.76 and was never seriously challenged by the late run of Slicked Back.

Stewards lit the inquiry sign and Slicked Back’s jockey De La Cruz lodged a claim of foul against the first-place finisher alleging that Wootton Asset interfered with him when he angled off the rail and into his path.

Stewards allowed the original order of finish to stand.

I knew what I was doing out there,” Ortiz said of the foul claim. “Fernando was running out of horse at the three-eighths pole. He didn’t have enough horse to keep me in there so I just went on. I never made contact with him. If we did it was very slight brush. My trip was great. My position on the backside is where I won the race. I just had a lot of horse. He did his job. The horse moved very smooth on the grass. I really like this turf course.” 

Jose was pretty confident (that the result would stand),” said Motion. “He just had a lot of horse. He’s a cool horse and he finally got his good ground. He hasn’t done much wrong since he’s been here. He came to this country to run on firm ground which is what he got today.” 

Flippant and Rafael Bejarano winning the Virginia Oaks

In the companion race for 3-year-old fillies, G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s homebred Flippant took advantage of a quick pace to rally from far back and win the $150,000 Woodford Reserve Virginia Oaks by 1 1/4 lengths under Rafael Bejarano.

Invincible Gal finished second under Jose Ortiz, with Gold for Kitten and jockey Joe Rocco third.

The gray 3-year-old filly by Tapit out of Frivolous, by Empire Maker, was winning her third consecutive race for trainer Victoria Oliver. She ran 1 1/8 miles on firm turf in 1:46.47, establishing a new course record. Flippant paid $6.60 to win as the favorite.

Bejarano allowed Flippant to settle near the back of the 12-filly field as Belle Belisa carved out quick fractions of :23.31, :46.35 and 1:10.20. With just over a quarter mile left to run, Fliippant still had her work cut out for her while racing in 11th position. She split horses at the top of the stretch and gradually wore them all down, drawing clear in deep stretch.

“The first time I rode her I didn’t know a lot about her,” Bejarano said. This is the kind of filly that likes to come from behind. She likes to get settled and relax. She has a better turn of foot. I learned my lesson. My strategy was to have her in a good position right behind the speed to make one move from the three-eighths or half-mile, wherever she was ready. There was a lot of pace in my race which was good. I had to wait a little in the stretch and when I was clear she came flying. 

Wagering on Virginia Derby Day Card Establishes New Record
New Kent County Virginia Derby Day set a new all-source handle record of $4,875,792, bettering the old record of $4,469,223 set on July 19, 2008 – the date of Gio Ponti’s victory in that year’s Virginia Derby.

“I’d like to thank the fans, horsemen and our great staff for tremendous support today,” said Jill Byrne, VP of Racing Operations. “To generate an all-time record handle in just our third year since racing returned to Colonial Downs is quite an accomplishment.”  

The post French-Bred Wootton Asset Takes New Kent County Virginia Derby; Flippant Rallies In Oaks On Record Wagering Day appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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