Meetyouathebrig stalked the early leaders from mid-pack and blew by the field in the stretch to win Saturday's $100,000 Derby Trial Stakes (gr. III) by 6 1/4 lengths on opening day of the Churchill Downs meet. Under Robby Albarado, the Elliott Walden-trained winner completed the mile in 1:36.44 on a fast track.
"I had a lot of confidence in him today, said Albarado. "Elliott (Walden) made me feel real good about this horse. He said to get him snugged up from the start, then make a run. It worked out great. Could he run a mile and a quarter next week? Well, that would be up to Elliott. But I'll tell you, the way he ran a mile today, he might like that extra distance fine."
Walden, though, rejected the idea of a Derby run for Meetyouathebrig. "No, I don't think so," he said. "We gave him his chances to prove he belonged in that race, but he didn't get there. He looked good today, but I think it's too late. You'll see that all his good races have come around one turn. We'll regoup and see what's next, but I'd guess we'll keep him around one turn."
The Derby Trial is Meetyouathebrig's second win in a one-turn, one-mile stakes race at Churchill Downs. In last year's Iroquois (gr. III) on Breeders' Cup Day, Meetyouathebrig utilized a wide closing run to get up from next-to-last to edge Hero's Tribute by a neck. He disappointed in two previous starts as a 3-year-old, finishing eight in the Fountain of Youth (gr. I) and seventh in the Spiral Stakes (gr. II). In those two Triple Crown prep races he was beaten by a combined margin of 42 3/4 lengths.
Betting favorite Dream Run came home second, 1 1/2 lengths ahead of One by the Knows, who led a four-horse blanket finish for third. Silvertongue Fox came home fourth, a head behind One by the Knows and a head in front of Wedlock. Gift of the Eagle, the only horse possibly using the race as a prep for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), was another neck farther back, eliminating the colt from Derby consideration.
"The question has been answered," trainer Ken McPeek said.
American Century, Golden Tangle, Gail's Drive, Radical Riley, and Firststatedeposit completed the order of finish.
Meetyouathebrig (Out of Place -- Always Be Mine, by Kris S.) is owned by Mansell Stable and James H. Stone. The gelding was bred in Kentucky by Barbara Lacroix.
Sent off at odds of 8-1, Meetyouathebrig returned $18, $8, and $5.60. Dream Run completed a $58 exacta and paid $4.20 and $3.20. One by the Knows, also trained by Walden but running as a separate entry, paid $7.60. (Chart, Equibase