Odds-on choice Gone Astray closed stoutly to sweep past pacesetter War Fighter en route to a 2 1/4-length win in the $150,000 Ohio Derby (gr. II) (VIDEO) at cloudy Thistledown Oct. 3.
The 3-year-old Phipps Stable homebred Gone Astray made it back-to-back derby victories for trainer Shug McGaughey after capturing the Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) one month ago.
Sent off at 2-5, Gone Astray saved ground for jockey Eddie Castro while stalking in fifth as War Fighter, ridden by Huber Villa-Gomez, showed the way over Petch through fractions of :23.78, :48.76, and 1:13.06 in the 1 1/8-mile dirt test. Gone Astray angled out at the quarter pole for his bid, closing to within a head of War Fighter at the eighth pole. The dark bay colt's attention lapsed somewhat when he got to the front, but he drew clear under strong handling from Castro. The winning time was 1:50.56.
War Fighter, a 12-1 shot, finished second by 7 3/4 lengths over Ice Road, who was ridden by Chris Emigh. A rank Join in the Dance mounted a mild late bid to land the fourth spot. Perfect Start, Fonda Ronda Won and Petch completed the order.
By Dixie Union out of the Mr. Prospector mare Illicit, Gone Astray earned $90,000 for his fourth win in 12 lifetime starts, boosting his earnings to $854,657. Gone Astray has been first or second in his past four starts, all in stakes company.
He paid $2.80, $2.10, and $2.10 while keying an $18.60 exacta payoff. War Fighter returned $4.80 and $3. Ice Road was $2.60 to show.
There were a bunch of trainer scratches as several of the original entrants were also entered in the $500,000 Indiana Derby (gr. II) at Hoosier Park. Scratched were Fundy, Gallant, Giant Oak , Hoopoe, Karama and Weslinn.