(Edited Hawthorne press release)
William Stiritz’s Proceed Bee, trained by Scott Becker, took advantage of a speed duel and won the grade III Hawthorne Derby by 2 1/4 lengths Oct. 10 at Hawthorne Racecourse (VIDEO). Content to track the pace early, rider Chris Emigh had his mount in striking position four wide through much of the race. Coming out of the turn, however, Emigh swung Proceed Bee far outside, about seven wide, and this talented 3-year-old rolled by the early pacesetters and was able to hold the other late runners safe.
"This horse is talented but sometimes he wants to go and sometimes he doesn’t," Emigh said. "Today he put it all together. Scott Becker and his crew did a great job of getting him ready. I tried to stay on the outside and stay out of trouble. I was glad when I saw the 2 (Romacaca) and the 7 (No Inflation) hook up. That’s what we were hoping would happen. I was hoping I could just sit third or fourth and have enough down the lane so I drifted out a bit, where I figured the track would be more firm. I guess it was. He just kept going."
Jockey Tim Thornton, about his second-place finish aboard Sir Al. "He was in tight on the inside. I tried grinding him out. I thought he handled the surface perfect. No problem over the grass."
Trainer William Morey added, "We were thrilled how he ran. He ran great. Hats off to the winner though. We are sending him to the Oak Tree Derby at Santa Anita on Nov. 7 (Breeder’s Cup Day)."
Rosemary Homeister Jr. the rider of beaten favorite No Inflation, wasn’t happy with their finish but satisfied with the track condition: "It's soft, but it's very safe. Not sure if the horse handled it or not."
They covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:57.00, on a turf course rated soft, after fractions of :24.48, :48.98, 1:14.87, and 1:42.32.
Proceed Bee returned $25.40, $11.60, and $6.60. Sir Al paid $6.40 and $5.80. Quite a Handful brought $10.60 to show.
Proceed Bee earned $114,000 for the victory, boosting his lifetime earnings to $412,894.
A 3-year-old gelding by Bernstein, Proceed Bee was bred in Kentucky by Hunter Valley Farm, H&W Thoroughbreds and Mary Wade. He has won seven of 14 starts, including a victory in the Honor Glide Stakes at Arlington Park Sept. 7.