Political Attack, a 3-year-old colt owned and bred by a former governor of Kentucky, posted a front-running 4 1/2-length victory in Tuesday's $100,000 Tropical Park Derby at Calder Racecourse. The grade III race was switched to the main track from the grass course due to day-long rains Monday; because of the surface change, the race will be downgraded one grade, to ungraded, by the American Graded Stakes Committee until the race is reviewed to determine if the original grade should be retained.
Trained by John Hennig for breeder-owner Brereton C. Jones, a former Kentucky governor who owns Airdrie Stud, the 3-year-old son of Hawk Attack jumped out to his customary early lead and never looked back.
The Judge Sez Who, the 8-to-5 favorite, attempted to challenge Political Attack at the quarter pole, but the winner kicked in and drew off to win for the final margin. The Judge Sez Who was second, followed by Deeliteful Guy. Political Attack went off at odds of 7-to-2 and paid $9.00, 3.40, and 2.60. He covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:51 3/5. Political Attack has won four of seven career starts.
The Tropical Park Derby was the second main track start for the winner. After finishing ninth on dirt at Ellis Park in his debut in July, the colt has raced exclusively on turf. Political Attack romped by 3 3/4 lengths to break his maiden in his grass debut at Ellis Park before finishing fourth in a stake at Kentucky Downs. After an allowance win and a fourth-place effort in a grass stake at Keeneland, Political Attack shipped to Calder to win the Mecke Stakes on Dec. 1.
"I was a little concerned that the race came off the turf, because we know he is a nice grass horse," trainer Hennig said. "But the governor said to go ahead and run him. He is a half-brother to a filly that ran third in the Spinaway (G1), a pretty good race. It's nice now to know that he can run on dirt. He's a fast horse and carried his speed. I think he beat some pretty nice horses. We'll see how he comes out of it and consider our options."
"This trip was perfect," said winning rider Mark Guidry. "He handled the dirt. He broke good and relaxed real nice. I know he set some pretty nice fractions, but he was doing it within himself. I called on him turning for home and he just accelerated like a true champion."
In the co-featured Tropical Park Oaks, Jerry Bailey and Stormy Frolic took the lead entering the stretch and pulled away to defeat Ciudad De Carson by 6 3/4 lengths. Stormy Frolic covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.4 as the race was also moved to the main track from the turf course.
Stormy Frolic, the daughter of Summer Squall owned by Stride Rite Racing Stable, paid $6.20, $4.20 and $3.20. Ciudad De Carson paid $11.80 and $7.40, while Bema paid $3.60 to show.
Trained by Milton Wolfson, Stormy Frolic has won three of eight starts, earning $117,630. She was bred in Kentucky by Cherokee Farms.