Don't Get Mad Storms to Indiana Derby Win

B. Wayne Hughes' Don't Get Mad raced off the early pace and stormed home in the stretch to capture the $511,300 Indiana Derby (gr. II) by three lengths Saturday night at Hoosier Park.

The second choice, ridden by Brice Blanc for trainer Ron Ellis, distanced himself from Scrappy T and Ramon Dominguez in a time of 1:42 3/5. Thor's Echo, who set the early fractions in the 1 1/16-mile event, slipped to third.

Jockey Felipe Martinez moved Thor's Echo to command the field of nine from the gate as Southern Africa recovered from a stumble at the start to join the leader and Scrappy T. The Swiss Yodeler gelding was pressed by Southern Africa and Rodney Prescott while Scrappy T stalked the frontrunners alongside Purim.

Thor's Echo set fractions of :22.3, :46.4 and 1:11.1 while challenged by the third choice when rider Brice Blanc began to rally Don't Get Mad from next to last. The Stephen Got Even colt advanced to sixth by the three-quarter marker and then swung five-wide in the stretch. He reeled in the field to win easily.

Scrappy T, who went off as the 2-1 post time favorite, finished second in his first start since a runner-up performance to Afleet Alex in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).

"I knew he was going to kick on, I had a ton of horse. Ron told me he'll be finishing, but just be aware," said Blanc. "I was pretty comfortable all the way around; I was pretty much where I wanted to be. I got him to play around on the backside, and he started picking up. He gradually came."

Ellis was concerned with how Don't Get Mad would handle the turns on the 7/8-mile oval, but said the colt did beautifully.

"He just fell into it (first turn). That's always a big telling point for me. When horses fall into a turn, they usually handle the track pretty well," the trainer explained. "That was my big concern is how he would handle these tight turns. He's such an agile horse; I wasn't worried about bringing him."

Bred in Kentucky by Milton and Beth Hendry, Don't Get Mad has won three of nine starts this season. He collected $306,780 in the victory to increase his career bankroll to $790,400.

Don't Get Mad paid $7.20, $3.40, and $2.80. Scrappy T returned $3 and $2.60. Thor's Echo was $3.40 to show.

Purim finished fourth in his return to the dirt after four starts on the grass and was followed by Southern Africa, It's Time To Smile, Greater Good, Apache Point, and Earths Vain Shadow.