Remarkable gelding Tin Cup Chalice earned his first victory outside of New York Oct. 4 at Hoosier Park, as he sprinted to an early lead and held off Pyro and Acai in deep stretch to win the $514,000 Indiana Derby (gr. II) (VIDEO) by a length.
A 3-year-old New York-bred, Tin Cup Chalice became the first horse ever to capture OTB’s Big Apple Triple earlier this summer. But the Indiana Derby was his first try in graded stakes company and he faced his stiffest class test to date. The son of Crusader Sword passed with flying colors for owner-breeder-trainer Michael Lecesse.
Ridden by Pedro Rodriguez, Tin Cup Chalice broke alertly and was sent straight to the front in a field of 12. He clicked off splits of :23.20, :48.20 and 1:13.40 while being pressed by Asmodeus, Chris Got Even, Acai and Power Game. Tin Cup Chalice carried a 1 1/2-length advantage into the stretch, but was being eyed by Acai and multiple graded stakes winner Pyro, who made a powerful five-wide run from the back of the pack after breaking from post 12 and being caught in traffic through the backstretch.
Tin Cup Chalice was all out in the stretch to keep his rivals at bay. The final time for 1 1/16 miles on the dirt course was 1:45-flat. Pyro, the 6-5 favorite, out-finished Acai by a neck for second.
Tin Cup Chalice, who was offered for $2,000 at the New York Breeders’ Sales Company 2005 October mixed sale, has now won nine of 10 starts and earned $868,680. His only loss was by a neck two starts back in the Step Nicely Stakes Sept. 14 at Belmont. The chestnut is co-owned by Scott Vanlaer. He is out of the Spectacular Bid mare Twice Forbidden.
Sent off as the 9-1 fifth choice, Tin Cup Chalice paid $20, $6.40 and $6. Pyro paid $3 and $2.60 and filled out a $65.60 exacta (4-12). The trifecta (4-12-10) returned $172.20.
The Big Apple Triple, which earned Tin Cup Chalice a $250,000 bonus, includes the Mike Lee Derby at Belmont, New York Derby at Finger Lakes and Albany Stakes at Saratoga. It is restricted to New York breds.