Don Corleone, with journeyman jockey Dean Frates astride, made brothers Carmine and Sal Iorio ecstatic, pulling off the biggest upset in the 32-year history of the New York Derby at Finger Lakes Racetrack on Saturday.
Sent off at 59-1 as the longest shot of 10 entrants, the colt – owned and bred by Carmine Iorio and trained by Sal Iorio, Jr. – stalked the pace until making his move past early leader Coined for Success midway around the final bend. Don Corleone opened up a four-length lead at the top of the stretch and dug down through the final furlong to hold off a challenge from the fast closing Seven Come Eleven. Time for the 1 1/6-mile test for 3-year-olds was 1:44.76.
The Incurable Optimist colt, out of Twice Forbidden by Spectacular Bid, paid $121.50, $46.40 and $10.80.
Seven Come placed and paid $13.20 and $5.90. Work With Me was third and returned $5.10. No bettors correctly picked the superfecta wager (the top four finishers), which paid $277 to anyone simply having Don Corleone as the winner.
With the victory, the colt took the second leg of the OTBs' Big Apple Triple for New York-bred 3-year-olds. Multiplication, winner of the first leg, the Mike Lee Stakes at Belmont Park on June 26, died suddenly following a workout at Belmont last week. The Big Apple Triple concludes with the Albany Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 25.
The $98,400 winner's share of the $164,000 purse increased Don Corleone's lifetime earnings to $136,730. It was the colt's second career victory in seven starts.