Sent out at odds of 15-1, Recapturetheglory entered the Illinois Derby having never tried stakes competition. In fact, the 3-year-old son of Cherokee Run had never even won at the allowance level, finishing third and second, respectively, in his last two efforts, the last one coming Feb. 29 on the turf at Fair Grounds when he tired in the stretch.
Trained and co-owned by Louie Roussel III, Recapturetheglory’s lone victory in five starts came in his third maiden start, a nose win Sept. 29 at Hawthorne.
Out of the Dehere mare Cold Awakening, Recapturetheglory covered the 1 1/8 miles on dirt in 1:49.01. Golden Spikes, who stalked the pace the whole way but came up empty in the stretch, finished second, three-quarters of a length ahead of Z Humor. Atoned finished fourth. Southwest Stakes (gr. II) winner Denis of Cork, who came in undefeated and went off as the even-money favorite, was never a factor, finishing fifth.
Recapturetheglory came out sprinting from post one and went the opening quarter in :24.17. Under Tim Thornton, Golden Spikes pressed the pace, staying just to the leader’s outside as a half-mile went in :48.64. Z Humor was never far back in third.
That’s the way the order stayed as the field of seven hit the top of the lane. Recapturetheglory had a 1 ½-length advantage at that point, but it was clear that he had more to offer when Baird urged him. The bay colt repelled the leaders and drew clear to win going away.
“He broke great and he reeled back in really professional,” said Baird. “He just rated real kind and when I called on him, he just gave me what he had. He ran second to Cool Cold Man who won the Fountain of Youth. Regardless of what kind of condition that was, I think these 3-year-olds are pretty much in the same boat right now”.
Bred in Kentucky by Charles Jacobi, Recapturetheglory pocketed $300,000 for the victory and punched his ticket to the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) for Roussel and co-owner Ron Lamarque.
The winner paid $33.80, $15.60,and $10. The exacta (1-6) returned $180.80, while the trifecta (1-6-3) was worth $789.60.
Jockey Julien Leparoux said there were no excuses for Denis of Cork. "We had a good trip and when I asked him at the 3/8ths pole, I thought he was ready to go. He kept going but there was no kick to get there.”