East Hall (left) comes on late to get the win in the Ohio Derby.

East Hall (left) comes on late to get the win in the Ohio Derby.

JJ Zamaiko

East Hall Grabs Ohio Derby With Closing Rush

Graeme Hall gelding gets up by head over Jessica's Star; Almost Famous third July 19.

East Hall upset the $300,000 Ohio Derby with a closing rush at 9-1 odds July 19 at ThistleDown Racino (VIDEO), earning his first victory since a Nov. 24 allowance event at Gulfstream Park.

Coming off a distant runner-up finish to Wildcat Red  in the June 28 Quality Road Stakes at Gulfstream, Jack Hendricks and Roger Justice's 3-year-old Graeme Hall gelding turned in a solid kick under jockey Juan Leyva in the final furlong, powering past Jessica's Star by a head.

Jessica's Star had taken the lead in the 1 1/16-mile contest after pressing 3-2 favorite Almost Famous behind a quarter in :23.20, a half in :46.88, and three-quarters in 1:11.22, and looked to be home free after edging clear late.

But East Hall responded readily when set down between rivals on the second turn. After shifting out to the five path for racing room on the second turn, he closed fast to get up in the final strides. Final time on a fast track was 1:44.22.

East Hall, who carried 117 pounds, returned $20, $7.40, and $4. Jessica's Star, the 124-pound highweight, paid $3.80 and $2.80, while Almost Famous brought $2.60. Russellin, Bump Start, Saa Mi, Cleburne, Larcenyinmyheart, Brothersofthetime, Mushu, and Avgolemono completed the order of finish. Harry's Holiday was a stewards' scratch.

Bred in Florida by Mary K. Haire out of the Sultry Song mare East Long, East Hall improved his record to 3-3-4 from 16 starts, and doubled his earnings of $360,370.

William Kaplan trains the winner.

The chestnut was purchased for $23,000 by Greg Gilchrist at the Ocala Breeders Sales Co.'s 2012 August yearling sale when consigned by Summerfield, and sold to his current connections for $55,000 at the OBS spring 2-year-olds in training sale in 2013 when consigned by Southern Chase Farm.