Walkslikeaduck rallied in the stretch to win the $300,000 Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) by 2 1/2 lengths Sunday at Del Mar. With Eddie Delahoussaye in the irons, the Patrick Gallagher trainee completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:46.66 while racing over firm turf. The time equals the course record of 1:46 3/5 set when 5-year-old Al Mamoon won the 1986 Eddie Read Handicap (gr. IIT).
Purely Cozzene sprinted to the early lead while unpressured on the backstretch, running suicidal fractions of 22:85 and :45.37. The front-running La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIIT) winner led by 2 1/2 lengths after six furlongs in 1:09.04, with David Copperfield second, and Generations third. Meanwhile, the winner had rated in mid-pack along the inside through the early going before coming out for the stretch drive, surging past Purley Cozzene under right-handed urging. Purely Cozzene held well to finish second, two lengths clear of New Story. Schotis, Sign of Hope, Credit Call, Generations, Duke of Green, Designed For Luck, and David Copperfield completed the order of finish.
Three-year-old Walkslikeaduck (Blushing John--Nabla, by Theatrical) was bred in Kentucky by Allen Paulson and earned his first stakes win in the Derby. Previously, he had won an allowance and a maiden race. He earned $180,000 for the win, his third in six career starts. He is owned by David Bienstock, Michael Parks, Eric Siegel, and Charles Winner.
Sent off at nearly 8-1, Walkslikeaduck paid $17.20, $6.20, and $5. 12-5 favorite Purely Cozzene returned $4.20 and $3.40. 26-1 New Story paid $12 to show. The $1 exacta returned $50.50.
"The other day when he ran in the Relaunch [August 18] we thought if he'd win or run good we'd run in the Derby," said Gallagher. "Eddie thought he had enough trouble [there] maybe to cost him the race so that was a big factor in making the decision to try our luck here. He got stopped really bad coming around the turn [in the Relaunch] and then ran green coming down the stretch, but he's come around a lot since that race. Today was 'D-Day,' Delahoussaye and the Duck." (Chart, Equibase