Keene Thoroughbreds' Texas Chrome faced enough trouble to have his share of excuses Sept. 25 in the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby (gr. III), but once again found just enough to win his third straight stakes.
Under the guidance of C.J. McMahon, the Texas-bred Grasshopper colt moved into striking position turning for home in the 1 1/8-mile test, but found no space between leading Sticksstatelydude and slight favorite Fish Trappe Road.
McMahon and Texas Chrome ducked abruptly to the inside for a clear path and battled to the wire as Stickstatelydude narrowed his window on the rail, but the game colt prevailed anyway by a half-length at Remington Park.
It was the third straight half-length stakes score for the J. R. Caldwell trainee, all since McMahon hopped aboard for the first time in the Super Derby Prelude. He also won the Super Derby (gr. III) in between.
"I was thinking (about) the outside and I saw (jockey Rafael) Bejarano (aboard Fish Trappe Road) still had some horse, and I knew he wasn't going to let me through if he had as much as I thought he did," McMahon said. "When I saw the inside open up, I went for it."
Breaking from the rail in the field of 11, Texas Chrome travelled two wide in the backstretch and three wide in the final turn as he tracked early leader Way Striking, then Sticksstatelydude. Way Striking set fractions of :22.95 and :47.25 through a half-mile and Sticksstatelydude inherited the lead through six furlongs in 1:11.69. Texas Chrome hit the wire in 1:48.94.
"I knew they had some other speed going into the race, so my plan was to use the 1 hole to my advantage and hopefully something would open up, and it did," McMahon said.
The winner paid $6.60, $3.60, and $2.60 across the board. Sticksstatelydude brought $5.80 and $3.60 and Fish Trappe Road delivered $3 to show.
Bred by Craig Upham, out of the Naevus mare Margarita Mistress, Texas Chrome has eight wins from 13 starts with earnings of $842,462. He was a $10,000 purchase by Danny Keene out of the 2014 Fasig Tipton Texas yearling and fall mixed sale, where Stoneview Farm consigned as agent.