Sitting seventh in the field of eight after a half-mile, Delightful Kiss launched his bid on the outside from the three-eighths pole, quickly taking the lead from a tiring Forty Grams and Starbase in upper stretch and widening his advantage through the lane. The stalking Moyer's Pond, ridden by Justin Shepherd, rallied along the inside at the head of the lane to finish second, a neck better than the closing Reporting for Duty and Luis Quinonez. Cowtown Cat, the 3-5 choice ridden by John Velazquez, finished an even fourth without threatening.
Delightful Kiss paid $51.80, $23.60 and $8.20. Moyer's Pond, coming off a second in the sloppy Lone Star Derby May 12, returned $8 and $4 and was part of a $249.20 exacta. Reporting for Duty was $5.40 to show. The final time for the 1 1/8-mile event for 3-year-olds was 1:49 1/5.
Trained by Pete Anderson, Delightful Kiss, a Florida-bred Kissin Kris gelding, had failed to make an impact in two starts on the Triple Crown trail this spring, his best finish a third in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) March 17, 6 1/4 lengths behind the winning Street Sense. In two starts after that, he was fourth to Curlin in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) by 11 1/2 lengths and ninth in the American Turf (gr. IIIT) on a yielding Churchill Downs turf course May 4. His last victory came in a one-mile allowance test at Gulfstream Park Feb. 11. Overall, the gray has 3 wins in 12 starts (2-for-5 on dirt) with earnings of $326,937 including Saturday's winning share of $180,000.
Forty Grams, breaking from the rail, was a bit of a surprise early, leaving the gate fourth but swooping to the lead over Starbase and Cowtown soon after the start. He set an honest pace -- :23, :47 1/5 and 1:11 4/5 -- before being overtaken by Delightful Kiss, who led by 2 1/2 lengths at the eighth pole and continued to dominate under some urging.
Delightful Kiss is out of the French Deputy mare Deputy's Delight.
Cowtown Cat, winner of the Gotham (gr. III) and the Illinois Derby (gr. II) before finishing last in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum (!) Brands (gr. I), finished 2 1/2 lengths behind Reporting for Duty. Forty Grams, Starbase, Officer Rocket and Danny Sez followed.
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