Cowtown Cat, winner of the Illinois Derby (gr. II) and Gotham Stakes (gr. III) this season, drew the No. 6 post position and has been installed the 5-2 morning line favorite for Saturday's $300,000 Ohio Derby (gr. II) at Thistledown.
The draw ceremonies were held Thursday morning with the Ohio Derby attracting a field of eight. The 124-pound high weight Cowtown Cat is trained by Todd Pletcher, who has saddled the runner-up in the last three renewals of the Ohio Derby -- High Cotton (2006), Magna Graduate (2005) and Pollard's Vision (2004).
"Wow, I didn't realize that," Pletcher joked. "Not just anybody can do that."
Pletcher said he's encouraged that Cowtown Cat will bounce back from his last try -- a 20th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) -- and run big at Thistledown.
"It looks like a very competitive field, but his last two breezes were excellent. I'm looking for a big race from him."
WinStar Farm and Gulf Coast Farms' Cowtown Cat, a Distorted Humor colt, has won four of eight starts and $488,463, making him the most successful and richest Ohio Derby entrant. John Velazquez will ride.
Officer Rocket, flying the colors of Frank Fletcher Racing Operations, Inc, is the 4-1 second choice. Trained by Bob Holthus, the son of Officer defeated Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense in last year's Arlington-Washington BC Futurity (gr. III), and was second to Curlin in this winter's Rebel Stakes (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park.
Forty Grams, representing the partnership of Pesch, Bolton and Fog City Stables, is the 9-2 third choice. He has finished third in four consecutive races, most recently in the Lexington (gr. II) and Lone Star Derby (gr. III).
$300,000 Ohio Derby (gr. II, Race 9, 5:33 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, ML Odds
1. Forty Grams (KY), Corey J. Lanerie, 115, 9/2
2. Officer Rocket (GB), John McKee, 117, 4/1
3. Moyer's Pond (KY), Justin Shepherd, 115, 5/1
4. Starbase (FL), Willie Martinez, 115, 6/1
5. Delightful Kiss (FL), Jeffrey Sanchez, 115, 8/1
6. Cowtown Cat (KY), John R. Velazquez, 124, 5/2
7. Danny Sez (KY), Luis A. Gonzalez, 115, 20/1
8. Reporting for Duty (KY), Luis M. Quinones, 115, 6/1