WinStar Farm's Revolutionary took the overland route to victory in the $1 million Louisiana Derby (gr. II) March 30, closing with a five-wide run before holding off the late charge of 19-1 shot Mylute by a neck in the final furlong at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots (VIDEO).
Revolutionary capped a big day at Fair Grounds for trainer Todd Pletcher, who took the $400,000 New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) with Twin Creek Racing Stable's Graydar and won the $500,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) with Repole Stable's undefeated 3-year-old filly Unlimited Budget. Pletcher also amassed three graded stakes victories in Florida.
A win in the 100th edition of the Louisiana Derby was worth 100 qualifying points on the road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), which bumped Revolutionary's total to 110 thanks to his previous 10 points earned with a dramatic finish in the Feb. 2 Withers Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Jockey Javier Castellano was enthusiastic in his praise of the dark bay runner, who left the gate favored at 2-1.
"He's a very brilliant horse, a smart horse," Castellano said. "He's a 3-year-old but he acted like a 5 or 6-year-old. His temper today, it was good. It was a big field of 14 horses and he handled it so well. 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. I'm looking forward to the Kentucky Derby bigtime."
Castellano cleverly angled Revolutionary to the outside after the 3-year-old son of War Pass broke a step slow to trail all but one. Up front, 99-1 shot Hip Four Sixtynine and 15-1 shot Titletown Five were trading places for the lead. The quarter went in :22.84 with the half in :46.34 and three-quarters in 1:11.84.
Revolutionary began to pick up horses with four furlongs left to go, commencing a sweeping move that sent him wide but helped him avoid traffic trouble. He entered the stretch in prime position to run down the tiring frontrunners and did so while moving to the rail through a mile in 1:37.76.
"He's learning all the time," said Elliott Walden, president and racing manager of WinStar Farm. "I loved the race he ran last time at Aqueduct, I think he's got all the experience he needs for Kentucky and he's got the points. He just does everything right, he doesn't turn a hair, and when you get to Louisville those kind of things matter. We're excited. Javier got him into a real nice rhythm; I was a little concerned going wide on the far turn but he still had plenty of run."
Mylute, racing without blinkers, closed determinedly from far behind with a six wide move but could not get up in time to catch the winner. He picked up 40 points, which could put him on the bubble as far as making the Kentucky Derby field is concerned.
"I’m really proud of him," trainer Tom Amoss said of the Midnight Lute runner. "Don’t ask me questions about his future, but I am proud of the way he ran today. One of these years, the Louisiana Derby is going to have our name on it.”
Walden said Revolutionary would ship from Louisiana to WinStar Farm, near Lexington, March 31. The colt, who has never finished out of the money, improved his record to 3-1-2 from six starts.
"Todd's going to be there in a couple days, so he'll go there first," Walden explained.
Bred in Kentucky by W.S. Farish out of the grade I-winning A.P. Indy mare Runup the Colors, Revolutionary has earnings of $788,500. He was a $235,000 purchase by WinStar Farm from the Ocala Breeders Sales Co.'s 2012 select sale of 2-year-olds in training after being pinhooked for $80,000 from the 2011 Keeneland Association September yearling sale by Valera Stable. Click here for a full story on Revolutionary's strong pedigree.