In the race on Kentucky Derby day anticipated nearly as much as the Derby itself, Half Ours showed what everyone already knew. Of juveniles that have started so far this year, he is the clear leader of the class.
Under John Velazquez, Half Ours was an effortless 4 1/4-length winner Saturday of the $120,000 Three Chimneys Juvenile. That did not surprise the betting public that sent him off 1-2 in the six-horse field. Now two-for-two lifetime, he won his maiden debut voyage at Keeneland April 17 by 10 ¾ lengths when sent off 1-5.
By Unbridled's Song
out of the Storm Cat
mare Zing, Half Ours is owned by Aaron and Marie Jones and Barry Schwartz. The gray/roan colt was bred in Kentucky by Brilliant Stables and purchased at the Keeneland September yearling sale for $625,000.
The filly Dance Daily took the lead from the gate in the 5-furlong race, but John Velazquez had Half Ours right behind and took the lead as he pleased after opening fractions of :21 3/5 and :44 3/5. He opened up down the lane and won in hand in :57.07.
A second filly, Five Star Holding with Rafael Bejarano aboard, closed ground to finish second, and Beacon Shine and Javier Castellano ran on for third.
Spotsgone, Dance Daily and High Adventure completed the order. Yaddo Cat was scratched.
The winner, trained by Todd Pletcher, paid $3, $2.80, and $2.20, while Five Star Holding returned $7.60 and $2.60. The show price on Beacon Shine was $2.80.
Pletcher, who won his third Three Chimneys, said he has been amazed by the development of Half Ours, who earned $74,400 for the victory.
"He ran so fast at Keeneland (in his debut), I was just shocked watching the race how easily he won and Johnnie basically wrapped up on him at the eighth pole that day," he said. "It shows you how talented he is.
"The first couple of times I breezed this colt it was like, 'Wow, this colt can really run and we're not asking him to do anything.' We went to Keeneland with the idea to run him and he ran so well, it made a lot of sense to come back here."
Pletcher won the Three Chimneys in 1999 with More Than Ready and in 2003 with Limehouse.
"It's been a good race to us," he said. "Actually both horses that we won it with came back and ran in the (Kentucky) Derby the next year. And they both finished fourth which, in both cases, I thought was a good showing and who knows, maybe next year we can come back and move up about three spots with this guy."