Live Oak Plantation's favored Can't Beat It made easy work of his rivals in the $200,000 Calder Derby (gr. III) for 3-year-olds, capturing the 1 1/8-mile grass race by 3 ¼ lengths in 1:48.39 over a course rated good.
Rene Douglas rode the Marty Wolfson-trained son of Atticus
, who sat well off a quick pace of 23.22, 46.87 and 1:11.41 set by longshot How's Your Halo. Can't Beat It made a four-wide move on the far turn to take the lead at the three-eighths marker and never looked back.
The win in the Calder Derby was the first graded stakes victory for Can't Beat It, whose overall record improved to four wins from 13 starts. The $120,000 winner's share more than doubled his bankroll to $207,960. Can't Beat hadn't raced since finishing second by a half-length to Union Avenue in Arlington's American Derby (gr. IIT) July 22.
Wolfson credited Douglas, who was aboard Can't Beat It for the first time.
"He has a good fuse. It just has to be timed right," Wolfson said of the winner. "I really thought he had these horses over a barrel today. What really impressed me was that he missed a lot of time after his last race and only had four works. That's asking a lot for a horse to go a mile and an eighth."
Croton Road, ridden by Manuel Aguilar, rode made a belated rally to finish second in the 11-horse field, three-quarters of a length clear of Elizabul, the stablemate of the winner.
The entry of Can't Beat It and Elizabul paid $4.40, $3, and $4.20. Croton returned $8.20 and $7.60.
Murch ran fourth, followed by Fancy Silver, World Battle, Famous Frolic, Desert Wheat, Gin Rummy King, How's Your Halo, and Jet Propulsion.
Later on the card, Jacks or Better homebred Bayou's Lassie went gate to wire for jockey Elvis Trujillo to win the $200,000 Calder Oaks for 3-year-old fillies.
The dark bay daughter of Outflanker
defeated Private Betty by 1 3/4 lengths as the 8-5 favorite in a time of 1:50 1/5 for the nine-furlong event on a good turf course. Jinni finished third.
Stanley Gold trains Bayou's Lassy.