Favored Ten Most Wanted, ridden by Pat Day, turned in another outstanding performance Saturday, disposing of a game Soto to post a half-length victory in the $500,000 Super Derby (gr. II) at Louisiana Downs.
The Travers (gr. I) champion, trained by Wally Dollase, handed Soto the first loss of his six-race career. The 1 1/8-mile Super Derby was run in 1:50 3/5. Crowned King came on to edge pacesetting Kool Humor for third in the six-horse field.
Ten Most Wanted continues to follow the pattern of his sire, Deputy Commander, who ran second in the 1997 Swaps, won the Travers and Super Derby and finished second in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I). He lost to Skip Away. Dollase, who trained Deputy Commander, said that Ten Most Wanted is headed to the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita.
``He looks just like his dad,'' Dollase said. ``I can't say enough about the horse.''
Breaking from the inside post position, Ten Most Wanted settled in on the rail with Soto on his outside behind Taxicat and Kool Humor, who clipped off moderate fractions of :24 2/5, :49 3/5 and 1:13 3/5. Day allowed Soto, ridden by Ramon Dominguez, to get the first run on the leaders and Soto surged to the front on the final turn and had the lead in the stretch. Ten Most Wanted moving four wide on the turn, ranged up on Soto's flanks and the two battled through the stretch until Ten Most Wanted assumed command late and gradually edged away.
``I felt like I had him (Soto) in my sights and was capable and able to go after him any time,'' said Day, who swept the three stakes races on the Louisiana Downs program and won the Super Derby for the second time. ``I was a bit hesitant about making the lead too soon. I think he has a tendency to let up just a touch when he clears other horses.''
Dominguez, aboard Soto, said, ``He gave me everything I wanted. I can't take anything away from the winner.''
It was the fourth win in nine starts this year for Ten Most Wanted, who has earned $1,553,460, almost all of it this year. The late-developing Kentucky-bred colt had just one start – a second-place finish in a maiden special weight – at 2. Besides victories in the Illinois Derby (gr. II) and the Travers, Ten Most Wanted also has two close second-place finishes in the Belmont (gr. I) and Swaps stakes.
He earned $300,000 for owners J. Paul Reddam, Michael Jarvis, James Chisholm and Kenneth Smole, et al. Ten Most Wanted was a $145,000 Fasig-Tipton 2-year-old purchase in February 2002.
The popular 1-2 choice paid $3, $2.10 and $2.10. Soto, the 6-5 second favorite, returned $2.10 and $2.10. Crowned King, who was 5 1/4 lengths back in third, also paid $2.10 for the show. The $2 exacta was worth $4.20.