Tampa Bay Derby Winner Equality Aventura Bound

Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) winner Equality will start next in the $250,000 Aventura Stakes on April 6 at Gulfstream Park, according to trainer Graham Motion.

"We had been undecided whether to run him in the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland or the Aventura Stakes here," Motion said. "Mrs. Abercrombie (owner Josephine Abercrombie) came down from Kentucky to watch a couple of her horses run this weekend and after going over everything, the pros outweigh the cons on starting him in the Aventura."

Equality has won one of two starts at Gulfstream, with the win coming by way of a 16 1/2-length allowance romp in a race taken off the turf course and run on a "good" main track. Following that Feb. 11 win, the colt won the Tampa Bay Derby impressively under Ramon Dominguez.

"He needed his first race here which was his first start since October," Motion said. "I decided to try him on the turf in his next start then they switched it to the dirt. He won so big I decided to ship him to Tampa Bay and ran him in their Derby there. He ran a real nice race."

The decision to run Equality in the 1 1/16-mile Aventura will keep Equality from getting a nine-furlong race under his belt before the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), a fact which doesn't escape Motion.

"Everyone's ultimate goal at this time is the Kentucky Derby," Motion said. "I think he won enough graded money in the Tampa Bay Derby ($120,000) to get him into the race. I wish the Aventura was at a mile and an eighth because you like to progress toward longer distances at this time. But, Equality likes this track and it means not having to ship him by running in the Aventura."

Motion said Dominguez will make the trip form Maryland to ride Equality in the Aventura.

A gray son of Mt. Livermore, Equality is closely related to Canadian champion 3-year-old and Horse of the Year Peaks and Valleys. Illinois Derby (gr. II) winner Peaks and Valleys and Equality share Mt. Livermore as a sire and Peaks and Valleys is out of Equality's second dam, Strike a Balance.