With Sheldon Russell aboard for trainer Hamilton Smith, Skeedattle Stable’s Done Talking ran down Morgan's Guerrilla in the final yards to post a 12-1 upset in the $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. III) (VIDEO) April 7 at Hawthorne Race Course.
Despite finishing 10th when beaten nearly 21 lengths in the March 3 Gotham (gr. III) at Aqueduct Racetrack in his season debut, Done Talking posted his first graded stakes victory from off the pace. The son of Broken Vow banked $300,000 for the three-quarters of a length win and earned himself a spot in the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Bred by his owners in Kentucky, the colt is out of the Dixieland Band mare Dixie Talking. He completed 1 1/8 miles on the fast main track in a pedestrian 1:53.88.
Morgan’s Guerrilla, 10-1 on the morning-line but sent off at 9-2, settled for second under Rosie Napravnik after taking the lead from Our Entourage at the top of the stretch and drawing off for what looked like a sure victory. The Mike Maker trainee settled for second in front of Hakama, who recovered from a poor start to close well with Julian Pimentel aboard. Saturday Launch was fourth in a field of 14 sophomores.
Breaking from post 13, Done Talking settled towards the back of the large field in the early going. Frankie Is Rock set the pace, with Our Entourage sitting a perfect stalking trip to his outside under Eddie Castro aboard. Morgan’s Guerrilla was just off Our Entourage, along with Z Rockstar.
Frankie Is Rock set early fractions of :23.94 and :48.64 but gave way to Our Entourage (six furlongs 1:13.14) approaching the final turn. Our Entourage had the advantage when they hit the top of the lane, but was already being taken on by Morgans’ Guerilla. Those two had a five-length lead over the rest of the field approaching the eighth-pole and it was Morgan’s Guerrilla who seized command and was seemingly home free nearing mid-stretch.
But Russell gave Done Talking the ideal trip into the lane, as he cut the corner on the inside, split horses, and was running down the tiring leaders. He passed Morgan’s Guerrilla along the inside in the final yards to pull the surprise.
“We wanted to take the horse back early," Russell said. "He’s kind of a one-run horse and we weren’t too keen on using him early going into the first turn. The trainer did tell me to look to make that early move. I tried moving at about the five-eighths pole, people told me that this is one of the longest stretches in the country so I just wanted to get my horse close enough so that when he did kick in he was going to be close enough to get there. I was very surprised turning for home that we were in about fourth place. I just knew then that I still had some horse. He’s the type that you have to keep at him but if you do he will give you everything that he has.
“You always look for what is happening in front of you and when I saw Morgan’s Guerilla drifting out just when I was getting close to him it made my job a little bit easier in regards to riding the horse and steering him at the same time."
Based at Laurel Park with Smith, Done Talking has now earned $381,200.
"The kid (Russell) did a great job of riding him," Smith said. "Hopefully it’s on to Louisville from here. The mile and a quarter should suit him with his late run, which is what you want. When the speed is backing up, hopefully he’ll be kicking on.”
The winner paid $27.20, $10.80, and $6.60. Morgan’s Guerrilla returned $5.80 and $4.40, and completed a $185.20 exacta (13-12). The trifecta (13-12-2) was worth $2,011.