There's no doubt Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider's homebred 3-year-old Departing is a talented runner, and the bay gelding reinforced that point Sept. 7 when winning the $500,000 Super Derby (gr. II) by four lengths at Harrah's Louisiana Downs (VIDEO) .
Coming off a powerful 8 3/4-length victory in the Aug. 3 West Virginia Derby (gr. II), Departing, by War Front , again dominated rivals with a sweeping move when widening away to take the 1 1/8-mile test under jockey Robby Albarado.
"They went a little slow the first half, but sprinted home nice," Albarado said. "He was well within himself."
Final time for the distance was 1:50.08 as the 3-10 favorite in a field of seven became a record third Super Derby winner for trainer Al Stall Jr. The Louisiana native won the race in 2008 with B. Wayne Hughes' My Pal Charlie and in 2010 with Apart for the same connections as this year's winner.
Stall became the first trainer to collect three wins in the Super Derby, breaking a four-way tie with D.Wayne Lukas, Jack Van Berg and Wally Dollase.
"This one was marked on the calendar," said Stall. "That's great. I cut my teeth here. I think (the Super Derby) supported me more than I've supported it! The Super Derby is a great race to win."
The trainer said Departing could start next either in the Oct. 5 Indiana Derby (gr. II) or Sept. 29 Oklahoma Derby (gr. III).
"The Breeders' Cup Classic could be on the table," added Stall. "But, we'll take it one race at a time."
This time, however, Albarado put the bay gelding in a good stalking spot fifth on the outside as 16-1 shot Ruler of Love showed the way for an opening quarter in :23.76. Departing had already moved up to third as the front-runner went a half in :49.29, with Cameo Appearance 1 1/2 lengths behind.
Departing began his bold winning move into the far turn, with Ruler of Love relinquishing the lead after three-quarters in 1:13.35. The tiring pacesetter matched strides briefly but provided no contest as Departing switched leads and put him away at the eighth pole after a mile in 1:36.99, then drove steadily clear.
Departing returned $2.60, $2.10, and $2.10 while Ruler of Love brought $5.80 and $4 in second and Cameo Appearance held to pay $3.60 for third. Treasury Bill, Runaway Stephen, Bashaar, and Holiday Mischief completed the order of finish. All carried 124 pounds.
Departing's share of the purse, $300,000, pushed his earnings to $1,379,500. Bred in Kentucky out of the Pulpit mare Leave, he has now won six of eight starts, including a victory in the Texas Heritage Stakes. He was third in the Louisiana Derby (gr. III), and his only finish off the board was a sixth in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).