Kim and John Glenney's homebred Orthodox pulled off a shocker in the $170,400 Crown Royal American Turf (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) May 1 at Churchill Downs, taking over in the stretch and holding off Battle of Hastings in the final yards to score at odds of 45-1 under Jon Court.
Sent off as the longest shot on the board in a field of nine 3-year-olds, Orthodox recorded his first stakes score in four tries. The son of Pulpit had done no better than seventh in those previous three efforts.
“He was one of our Derby horses we were hoping to get here all spring, but he takes to the grass so well that races like this suit him best of all," Court said. "I won on him in California and now here in Kentucky."
Breaking from post 9, Orthodox was close to the front for all 1 1/16 miles on a turf course labeled good. The bay ridgling stalked the pace set by Turfiste, who clicked off fractions of :24.23, :48.86 and 1:13.86. Those two took the field into the stretch where Orthodox grabbed the lead shortly before hitting the eighth-pole. After putting away Turfiste, Orthodox was all out to hold off Battle of Hastings and Tyler Baze by three parts of a length. Turfiste settled for third, 1 3/4 lengths behind the runner-up.
“I was a little worried today that he would try to do too much early," Court said. "But he settled nicely, two or three lengths behind at one point; I just let him pick it up on his own and engage the pacesetter on his own doing. I just let him run the way he wanted to and didn’t rush him.”
The final time was 1:44.37 on good going.
Post time favorite Stormalory, who beat Orthodox by 8 3/4 lengths last out in the Transylvania (gr. IIIT) April 3 at Keeneland, was pulled up by Julien Leparoux going into the final turn with an injury to his left front leg. Stormalory, who broke slowly from the rail post position and was running at the back of the pack, was later euthanized.
State veterinarian Bryce Peckham said that an X-ray revealed several fractures in the leg. Stormalory suffered a condylar sesamoid fracture, a medial sesamoid fracture and a fracture in the pastern, according to Peckham.
Bill Mott trained Stormalory for Darley Stable.
Orthodox was bred in Kentucky and is out of the Strawberry Road mare Dominique’s Joy. He upped his record to 3-0-1 from nine starts and has now earned $179,842. John Glenney also trains Orthodox.
“He usually likes to be on the front end by himself, the lone speed," Glenney noted. "But in the paddock, Jon and I agreed that he didn’t need the lead. I had a lot of confidence in him today because Jon was back aboard in a grass race. Jon got him to relax behind the speed horse, and he was running really well the whole way.
"He usually doesn’t like to pass horses, but this time, the leader was backing up a bit and he inherited the lead. He knew what to do from there.”
The upset winner paid $93.20, $32.80 and $14.20. The Bristish-bred Batle of Hastings had a two-race winning streak halted, returning $4.60 and $3.60 as the second choice. Turfiste, ridden by Jamie Theriot, was $7.40 to show. The exacta (9-3) returned $658 and the trifecta was $7,723.40.
Baze said he may have not moved on Battle of Hastings soon enough.
“I thought I would be able to outkick them so I just waited a little longer with him," Baze said. "(Orthodox) went on again like he must have heard me coming.”
Bruce N Autumn finished fourth, followed by Skipadate, Jack Spratt, Bittel Road and Bunker Hill, who was fractious in the gate and broke in the air.