Oak Tree Derby: Augment Adapts to Grass for Gallagher

Oak Tree Derby: Augment Adapts to Grass for Gallagher
Photo: Benoit
Augment comes into the Oak Tree Derby off a 2nd place finish in the Del Mar Derby.
Improvement has come quickly for Augment, especially since trainer Paddy Gallagher switched him to the turf this summer, including a surprising second-place finish in the Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) last time out. The Aptitude gelding is sure to attract more attention in the $150,000 Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT) on the Santa Anita lawn Oct. 13.

There are no standouts among the 11 entered for the nine-furlong test, creating a golden opportunity for the adaptable Augment if he can repeat his effort of five weeks ago at odds of nearly 28-1. After setting the easy pace in the 1 1/8-mile Del Mar Derby, Augment fought back in deep stretch along the inside to pass Worldly but was overtaken on the far outside by the victorious Medici Code by three-quarters of a length. In his turf debut at Del Mar Aug. 9, Augment tallied from far back to win by a game nose over an allowance/optional claiming field.

Leonard Lavin's Glen Hill Farm owns the Kentucky-bred bay, who will have regular rider Richard Migliore aboard while starting from the number nine post position.

"He's a good young horse and we're expecting a lot of him," said Gallagher.

With only two weeks to the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, though, there would not be time enough to get him ready this year, he said. "We'll more seriously consider that next year. But we've always liked him."

“He’s very honest,” Migliore said. “He shows up every time, and the good thing about him is, if they go real slow, he’ll make the running; if they go fast, he’ll settle in. He won’t be a victim of pace or the way the race is run. He kind of makes his own trip. A horse like that is fun for a jockey to ride.”

Augment has a 3-3-0 record from eight starts in 2007 with earnings of $204,560.

Marsha Naify's Stoneside showed little in his U.S. debut while running sixth as the 13-10 favorite in the Del Mar Derby. Improvement is expected from the Irish-bred, second in a group I stakes in France in his last start overseas. Julio Canani trains him and Victor Espinoza will ride for the first time. Stoneside has been out of the money only one other time in his 14-race career.

A second Canani trainee, Mostacolli Mort, makes his first start since running sixth in the Secretariat (gr. IT) at Arlington Park two months ago.

Augustin Stable's Asperity makes his first U.S. start for trainer Neil Drysdale. The Kentucky-bred son of War Chant defeated Stoneside by a nose in a group III race at Chantilly in June.

Unusual Suspect came out of his fourth-place finish in the Del Mar Derby to win the Bay Meadows Derby on grass Sept. 29 by a head over Ten a Penny, who also returns in the Oak Tree Derby.

The Switzerland-bred Karazi, a colt by Arazi, ran fifth in the Del Mar Derby, beaten only 2 1/4 lengths, in his stateside debut for trainer John Sadler. Karazi began his career in France, winning thee of seven starts.

$150,000 Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT, Race 9, 4:30 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Star Inside (IRE), 118, G. F. Almeida
2. Karazi (SWI), 118, Brice Blanc
3. Asperity (KY), 122, Alex O. Solis
4. Unusual Suspect (CA), 118, Joseph Talamo
5. Daytona (IRE), 118, Mike E. Smith
6. Mostacolli Mort (KY), 118, Tyler Baze
7. Stoneside (IRE), 118, Victor Espinoza
8. Ten a Penny (KY), 118, Michael C. Baze
9. Augment (KY), 118, Richard Migliore
10. Angelonmyshoulder (GB), 118, David R. Flores
11. Senior (KY), 118, Martin Garcia

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