D. Wayne Lukas added to his record-setting number of Debutante (gr. III) wins, snatching his seventh when Westrock Stables’ Decelerator outdueled Wild Forest Cat by a neck June 27 in the $111,300 event at Churchill Downs (VIDEO).
Sent off as the 6-5 favorite in a field of nine juvenile fillies, Decelerator sat just off the pace in the early going as Brown Eyed Baby and Wild Forest Cat glided through a quarter-mile in :21.66 and a half-mile in :45.34. She rallied three-wide under Julien Leparoux around the turn and came onto even terms with Forest Wild Cat and Brian Hernandez Jr. at the top of the lane.
With Decelerator on the outside, those two battled through the length of the stretch, exchanging bumps on two separate occasions. Decelerator inched ahead in the final yards to hit the wire just in front. The final time for six furlongs on the ‘"ast:" main track was 1:11.28. Hernandez later claimed foul against Decelerator, but it was disallowed by Churchill stewards.
Forest Wild Cat, trained by Steve Asmussen, was 3 3/4 lengths better than third-place Kinsolving.
“You always get a little nervous when they throw the inquiry sign up like that,” Lukas said. “But I thought that the other horse (Wild Forest Cat) maybe came out as much as anything, but we don’t have the view that the other guys got.
“She’s a gutsy filly. You know, she hadn’t run since May and I didn’t do a lot with her, as you could see by the works. If she was short, she’d be short, but I wanted to save a little something for that little place in northern New York (Saratoga). We’ll come back in about 30 days and go in the Schuylerville (gr. III, July 29).”
Decelerator is a daughter of Dehere, out of the Accelerator mare Paris Rose. She was bred in Kentucky by Ted O’Neill and races for Joe and Scott Ford’s Westrock Stables.
The victory was worth $66,246 for Decelerator, a $250,000 purchase at the OBS February select 2-year-olds in training sale. She is now 2-for-2, having broken her maiden by a half-length on the Churchill slop May 14.
The winner paid $4.60, $3, and $2.40. The exacta (8-3) returned $17.20 and the trifecta (8-3-1) was $65.