Trainer Christophe Clement took two of four stakes events on the card during Calder Race Course’s inaugural Turf Million day, including the $400,000 Calder Derby (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) with Jon and Sarah Kelly’s 3-year-old Sporting Art.
Sporting Art continued a string of solid performances in the U.S. when he rallied late in the home stretch to win the 1 1/8-mile Calder Derby by 1 3/4 lengths in spite of a rough trip during which he was steadied on the first turn. The Calder Derby was his second win in this country after a March 29 score in the Palm Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park. The 3-year-old son of Doneraile Court made his U.S. debut in February, when he finished second by a neck in a Gulfstream allowance event.
“Sporting Art got shuffled back on the backstretch, but got clear in time to go on and win,” Clement said. “That will happen in races like this (when you have a big field on turf). There are the races this summer at Arlington and in Virginia. We’ll look at those.”
Sporting Art started his career in England last year, racing to dual victories in his maiden debut at Ascot and a following score in the A. Rhodes Haulage Ripon Horn Blower Conditions Stakes as a 2-year-old. Following back-to-back fourth-place efforts in his next two starts, he came to the U.S. and began training with Clement.
Sporting Art covered the nine furlongs over firm turf in 1:47.93 in a race where the pace was set through a quarter in :24.13, a half in :48.67, three-quarters in 1:12.08, and a mile in 1:36.00. He returned $5.00, $2.80, and $2.60, while Tour Ireland paid $15.80 and $5.40 under Y. Rosario, and El Sultry Sun returned $3.80 with Kent Desormeaux.
“The main thing I wanted to accomplish in this race was to give my horse the best possible trip, (and) I think that is what made the difference today,” Castellano said. “The horse that set the pace (Tour Ireland) ducked in a bit in the stretch, but I think I had him anyway. The first time I rode this horse he might have needed a race, but the time after that I was very impressed and even more so today.”
The win was also a second on the card for Castellano, albeit separately from Clement. The Venezuelan rider piloted Stronach Stables’ Ginger Brew to victory in the $200,000 Calder Oaks for trainer Brian Lynch, going 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.24 and paying $6.20, $2.80, and $2.80.
Clement’s other winner was Robert Scarborough’s 5-year-old French-bred Mauralakana, who won the inaugural $300,000 Mairzy Doates Handicap, going 1 3/8 miles in 2:13.83 and returning $3.80, $2.20, and $2.40 under jockey Rene Douglas.
Later in the day, Balkrisna Sukharan’s Lookinforthesecret took the $250,000 Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint Championship Handicap for trainer Jaime Ness, wrapping up the five-urlong sprint in :55.17 and bringing $14.60, $9.20, and $3.40 under jockey Daniel Centeno.