Favored Nothing To Lose, with Jerry Bailey riding, unleashed a strong drive to overtake the leaders in midstretch and go on to a 1 3/4-length victory in Wednesday's $100,000 Tropical Park Derby (gr. IIIT) at Calder Race Course.
Sent off at 8-5 in the field of 12 3-year-olds, the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Kentucky-bred son of Sky Classic covered the 1 1/8-mile turf race on a course rated "good," the first graded stakes of 2003, in 1:50 2/5.
Christmas Away battled Millennium Storm into the stretch through fractions of :24, :48 3/5 and 1:13 1/5, when they were joined on the front end by Supah Bliz and Sea Pleasure. Bailey brought Nothing To Lose from the middle of the pack with an eye-catching move on the outside. He defeated Millennium Storm, who nipped Supah Blitz for second, while drawing away.
"When I needed him he was there," said Bailey. "That kind of horse makes my job simple. He can creep up in there and get into a good striking position. Horses like that, if you just don't make any mistakes, you're in good shape."
It was the first stakes appearance for Nothing To Lose, who won for the third time in five career outings. He picked up a $60,000 winning share for owners Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, who also bred him. The winner has career earnings of $106,010.
Nothing to Lose had also won a previous race over the Calder turf course, an allowance on Dec. 14, in preparation for the Tropical Park.
"The biggest thing about today's race is he is a 3-year-old who was able to go a mile-and-an-eighth and win on Jan. 1," said Mike Maker, assistant to Lukas. "I'm sure there will be several options discussed for Gulfstream."
Nothing To Lose paid $5.60, $4.20 and $3. Millennium Storm returned $10.20 and $5.80. Supah Blitz paid $4.60.