Southern California shipper Thirtyfirststreet, making his first start on turf at odds of 21-1, took advantage of a crawling pace to edge Close Ally by a neck in the $200,000 Lone Star Derby in Texas May 30 (VIDEO).
Sitting just off the early leader Aces N Kings, Thirtyfirststreet put his head in front on the final turn of the 1 1/16-mile test for jockey Chris Landeros and narrowly led the field into the homestretch. The stalking Close Ally, ridden by Robby Albarado, drew alongside on the outside and appeared to get a slight advantage near mid-stretch, but Thirtyfirststreet fought back and was inching away as they reached the wire.
“He was just running so easy,” Landeros said. “Down the lane it seemed like he was focusing on where the other horses were instead of running forward. So when Close Ally came to us, I didn’t even have to ask much. He had plenty left and he really ran hard to the finish.”
The final time was 1:42.55 over firm going after earlier fractions of :25.16, :49.43, and 1:12.89.
The Lone Star Derby was contested for the first time on turf this year and lost its grade III status. Thirtyfirststreet, trained by Doug O'Neil, picked up his first stakes win over open company.
Uncle Sam, the 8-5 favorite in the field of nine, was never a factor while racing near the rear of the pack and finished eighth.
O'Neill and Mark Gorman bred Thirtyfirststreet (Good Journey--Avian, by Sky Classic) in California. The trainer named the 3-year-old bay colt for the street on which he lives in Santa Monica. Gorman owns Thirtyfirststreet in partnership with Neil Haymes and Kevin Bogart.
Thirtyfirststreet won the California Breeders' Championship Stakes at Santa Anita last December and was briefly on the Triple Crown trail. He ran fourth in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) in February before shipping to Turfway Park for the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (gr. III) March 26. That race didn't go well as Thirtyfirststreet finished ninth on the Polytrack, 20 1/2 lengths behind the victorious Animal Kingdom.
Returned to Southern California, Thirtyfirststreet ran a close third in the Snow Chief Stakes for state-breds April 23 at Hollywood Park. With his Texas victory, Thirtyfirststreet improved to 3-1-1 in seven races. He has earned $241,400.
Thirtyfirststreet paid $45.80, $14.60, and $6.80 while keying a $137 exacta with second choice Close Ally, who returned $4.40 and $3.60. It was 2 3/4 lengths back to Derby Kitten, who rallied belatedly for Julien Leparoux and paid $3.40 to show.