James R. Vreeland's Devious Boy rolled to the front rounding the second turn and held on gamely in the stretch to win Saturday's $150,000 Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita.
Devious Boy stalked Domestic Dispute through fractions of :25 2/5, 49 4/5, 1:14 1/5, and 1:37 1/5 before putting a head in front nearing the stretch. He then held on gamely between as Sweet Return and Urban King led a charge to the wire.
The victory by the 3-year-old gelding marked the first Oak Tree stakes win for an all-female trainer-jockey combo as Julie Krone rode the winner for trainer Kathy Walsh.
"He's a very game horse," Krone said. "There wasn't much pace scenario, but he's just an absolute gentleman. I can chirp to him and keep him closer or take him back, or ride him with a rope on his neck. And then in the stretch, he physically was staying ahead of the other horses, and was stretching his own neck out and running on his own. That's a really fun sensation when you're on a racehorse. You're going with him, but when the horse does it, it makes it so much better, and so much different (because) you know they have a sense of winning and losing."
"This an absolute fighter, this guy," Walsh said. "Julie does a marvelous job on him, too. I don't have any thoughts about anything beyond this (race), not right now. He's not Breeders' Cup-eligible. I think he deserves a little rest now. He's danced quite a few dances in a row."
The 11-10 favorite in the five-horse field, Devious Boy paid $4.20, $2.40, and $2.10, with Sweet Return paying $3.00 and $2.10 and Urban King worth $2.20.
A British-bred son of Dr. Devious, Devious Boy was purchased at the 2001 Tattersalls October sale for the equivalent of $14,446. He began his career in England and since coming to the U.S. earlier this year the gelding has two victories and two second in four starts. In his North American debut, Devious Boy won a division of the Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar and followed with consecutive runner-up efforts in the La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIIT) and Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT).