Local hope Ol Winedrinker Who overcame some drifting in the homestretch to capture the $150,000 Zia Park Derby by 3 3/4 lengths Dec. 1 in Hobbs, N.M.
A Texas homebred son of Sligo Bay owned by Sam E. and Sammy L. Stevens, the winner was ridden to victory by Carlos Madeira for trainer Joel Marr.
Ol Winedrinker Who rallied on the far outside while drifting out in the drive to sweep past odds-on favorite Alsvid near mid-stretch. He drew off while crossing the path of runner-up Master Rick when overcorrecting to the inside in the charge for the wire.
Steve Asmussen, trainer of Master Rick, lodged an objection against the winner but it was disallowed by stewards following a brief review.
Master Rick, a shipper from Remington Park in Oklahoma, settled for second by a half-length. Alsvid, the 9-10 choice also shipping in from Remington, edged Whining by one length for third in the field of seven 3-year-olds. The final time for 1 1/16 miles on a fast track was 1:44.42.
Ol Winedrinker Who, one of only two horses in the race based in New Mexico, was facing five shippers.
"We knew it would be tough and didn't know if he could compete against such a good field," Marr said. "But we knew one thing, and that was that he was training as good as he could train and loved the course. I think that's got to help. He just likes it here."
Ol Winedrinker Who chased the pacesetters Motown Men and Alsvid in third as the leaders separated themselves from the rest of the pack by as many as seven lengths, carving out a solid pace of :23.55, :47.29, and 1:11.73. Ol Winedrinker Who, Whining, and Master Rick cut the gap on the final turn and the leaders were four across in upper stretch after Motown Men gave way.
Alsvid, under pressure from Chris Landeros at the rail, held on to the advantage to mid-stretch but could not withstand the charge from Ol Winedrinker Who on the far outside. After getting a narrow lead past the furlong marker, Ol Winedrinker Who drifted inward while continuing to lengthen his advantage under a drive from Madeira.
Ol Winedrinker Who had posted three consecutive runner-up finishes since taking the six-furlong Norgor Derby June 17 at Ruidoso Downs. The last two races came around two turns at Zia Park against $30,000 allowance/optional claiming rivals. The dark bay or brown gelding, out of the Prenup mare Silverup won for the first time in four starts over the track.
"We've always been wanting to go long, and this is the race we've pointing towards for the last six to eight months," Marr said.
The victory, worth $89,100, boosted Ol Winedrinker Who's career earnings to $179,713.
Under equal weights of 122 pounds, Ol Winedrinker Who paid $15.20, $4.40, and $3.20 as the fourth choice. Master Rick, ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr., returned $4.60 and $3 while completing a $58.80 exacta. Alsvid paid $2.40.
Whining was followed by Explain, Yankee Dan, and Motown Men. Private Zone, the morning line favorite, and Proud Spanky scratched.