Jockey James Graham was warned that American Equistock's Multiplier was a horse who needed extra encouragement.
The veteran reinsman was also told that if you ask the son of The Factor in the right manner, he'll provide a pretty pleasing answer.
All of the above proved true during Graham's maiden voyage aboard the Brendan Walsh trainee in the $250,000 Illinois Derby (G3) at Hawthorne Racecourse April 22. After racing along in a ground-saving fifth throughout much of the 1 1/8-mile test, Multiplier shook free in midstretch and ultimately gave his rider the kick he was seeking, getting up in the final strides to nail 9-5 favorite Hedge Fund by a head.
"Yeah that's his problem. He settled a little too well," Graham quipped after guiding Multiplier to the colt's first graded stakes win. "He is a bit on the lazy side, but if you tell him to do his job, he'll do it."
The more he gets prodded to step up his game, the more Multiplier has responded in kind.
Unraced as a juvenile, the 3-year-old bay colt finished third in his debut at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots Jan. 21, but has taken a jump forward in each subsequent outing. A runner-up finish next time out was followed by his maiden victory at the New Orleans track March 18. His first try against graded company went down as the best testament to his potential yet.
As Stand and Cheer went to the front out of post 4 and carved fractions of :23.47 and :47.24 through a half-mile, with Hedge Fund tracking second, Multiplier took back out of post 1 and raced on the inside path, third last in the seven-horse field. With his mount's momentum building along the rail as they reached the far turn, Graham moved Multiplier out into the three-path as they reached the stretch and then asked his mount to eat into the 1 1/2-length advantage Hedge Fund opened up in the lane.
"I didn't know if it was going to get there. (Hedge Fund) just spurted away," Graham said. "But my horse ran after him all the way to the wire. He's a gorgeous horse, just a beautiful horse. Brendan has done a great job with him."
Multiplier hit the wire in 1:47.98 over a track rated fast and paid $10.80, $5.20, and $3.80 across the board.
Hedge Fund was 4 3/4 lengths clear of third-place finisher It's Your Nickel, with Stand and Cheer fading to fourth. Hollywood Handsome, St. Louie Guy, and, Mr. Misunderstood completed the order of finish.
Bred in Kentucky by Mark Stansell, out of the Trippi mare Trippi Street, Multiplier now has earnings of $187,310 from his four starts. He was an $120,000 RNA at the 2016 Ocala Breeders' Sales' April spring sale of 2-year-olds in training.