Live Oak Plantation's undefeated High Fly overtook Magna Graduate coming off the turn and put in an explosive stretch run to win the $125,000 Aventura Stakes for 3-year-olds by nine widening lengths.
Bill White trains High Fly, who won both of his starts as a 2-year-old. Eddie Castro was aboard.
"l expected him to run well but I don't think anybody could have expected this performance," White said. "This was a little muscle flexing.
"He had never looked a really tough horse in the eye - he still hasn't - but we're on the right track. He's definitely on the Derby trail now, so we'll start looking by planning two or three races ahead and see what our options are."
The winner withstood a claim of foul from Jose Santos, the rider of second-place Drum Major, for alleged interference leaving the gate.
"He is really smooth," Castro said of the winner. "I rode him in his two wins at Calder and breezed him. This is a very good horse. He has a very good future."
High Fly ran the mile in 1:35.88 and paid $8.20, $5.60 and $4 as the 3-1 second choice in the field of 12. Drum Major returned $23.40 and $11.80 as a 33-1 outsider.
Magna Graduate ($5.20) was third and Ginger's Fella fourth. Deputy Indy, the 3-2 favorite who was coming off a debut maiden victory by two lengths at Aqueduct Nov. 6, faded in the stretch and finished 10th
High Fly, who earned $75,000 for the victory, is a Kentucky homebred chestnut colt by Atticus
out of the Slewpy mare Verbasle.
Magoo's Magic set the early pace (:23 2/5, :45 2/5) before fading to ninth as Magna Graduate, ridden by Kieren Fallon, took the lead after six furlongs in 1:10 1/5. High Fly, in close contact with the leaders throughout, swept to the lead at the top of the stretch and quickly drew away.