Prior to the $1-million Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) (VIDEO), Timber Reserve had trouble getting into the gate. An equipment malfunction kept the 3-year-old son of Forest Camp stalled for more than a minute.
But once the 1 1/8-mile test began, there was no stopping Timber Reserve, as the dark bay colt stalked the pace, grabbed the lead at the top of the lane, and then held off a stubborn Xchanger for most of the stretch to win by a neck at Philadelphia Park Casino & Racetrack.
It was the first graded stakes victory for the $400,000 2-year-old purchase, who was making only his second start of the year. His only other start in 2007 was a 3 ¼-length win July 21 in a Belmont Park allowance test.
Trained by John Kimmel, Timber Reserve stayed right on the heels of pacesetter Cable Boy through three-quarters, which was run in 1:10.55. As they reached the top of the lane, Timber Reserve grabbed the lead under jockey Javier Castellano and opened up a clear advantage.
But Xchanger, who was just off the pace the entire way, began his three-wide move. With urging from Luis Garcia, the son of Exchange Rate loomed boldly at the eighth pole, just to the outside of the leader. With both horses drifting to the middle of the racetrack, Timber Reserve held on, with help from Castellano. West Virginia Derby (gr. III) winner Zanjero was 3 1/2-lengths back in third.
The winning final time was 1:47.67. Timber Reserve paid $13.40 to win. The exacta (4-7) with 22-1 longshot Xchanger paid $339.
Bred by Mike Harris and Westwind Farms, Timber Reserve now has three wins in six career efforts. Prior to the Pennsylvania Derby, his only other stakes try was a fourth-place finish in the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) last November at Belmont. He is owned by Circle E Racing, Caeser P. Kimmel and Philip Solondz.
Betting favorite Cowtown Cat never fired and finished eighth in the 11-horse field. Cable Boy tired badly and ended up 10th, just ahead of stable mate Get Serious.