WinStar to Win WinStar Derby

By Dick Downey

The $500,000 WinStar Derby sees the sponsor's own VICTORY LIGHT shipping in from Payson Park in Florida, and Pat Day comes along for the ride.

After breaking his maiden in his second start, VICTORY LIGHT showed promise at age two when he was a closing second in the Grade II Summer Stakes on firm turf at Woodbine. The effort was sufficient to put him into the Grade II Lane's End Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland in October, where he ran 5 3/4 lengths behind Eurosilver, and within a length of Tiger Hunt and Limehouse, who recently won the Grade III Tampa Bay Derby at today's distance.

After an almost five-month layoff, VICTORY LIGHT, a son of Victory Gallop, made his 2004 debut in a one-mile allowance race at Gulfstream Park, but the skies really opened up that day in South Florida, and he didn't get his footing and ran an uninspiring fifth behind uninspiring horses.

The WinStar is VICTORY LIGHT's second race off the layoff and will be Day's fourth time aboard. This will be the colt's fifth track in five starts, and we believe that he will put it all together here after three consecutive bullet works at the deep Payson training track. A virtually assured hot early pace should set things up for him, and he drew inside and should have no trouble establishing the position he needs.

We like CONSECRATE in the second spot. He bounced back after his third place finish in the Grade II San Rafael with a :47 2/5 work 10 days later, and he, too, has the right running style to close on the early pace.

POINT OF FLIGHT broke his maiden with the addition of blinkers in his last race, a $46,000 maiden at Santa Anita. This is the son of El Prado's third start off a layoff. In the first one, Rock Hard Ten beat him by 5 1/4 lengths. Another step forward here lands him on the board.

We see HOSCO, with a lot of front speed, hanging on for fourth.

We hate to omit ROCKY GULCH and HI TECK MAN from our selections. They are good, honest horses, but we think they're outmatched in the WinStar.

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