The Brad Cox-trained Archarcharch gelding is now undefeated on turf in five starts. Run since 1980 on dirt, for the 2017 edition of the Super Derby, the race was moved to turf.
"We gave the horse a little break after the Illinois Derby and thought the Prelude would be an easier spot than (in) Kentucky," said owner Staton Flurry. "He ran superb in the Prelude, and he came out of the race very well. I was surprised Sonneteer went early, but Chris knew he had a lot of horse. He said he felt like he exploded like a stick of dynamite."
In the 1 1/16-mile test Saturday, Phat Man went for the lead, as Sonneteer tracked closely in second in the field of five 3-year-olds. The 3-5 favorite, Mr. Misunderstood and jockey Chris Rosier raced in third but began to advance in the backstretch. The first quarter-mile went in :25.32 and the half-mile went in :50.66.
Around the far turn, Mr. Misunderstood moved wide around his competition and gained the advantage heading into the stretch as six furlongs went in 1:14.57. Rosier kept the gelding to task in the stretch and the duo pulled away from the field to win by three lengths. The final time on the firm turf was 1:42.91.
"I have watched the Super Derby since I was a kid, so winning this means the world to me," Rosier said. "Crossing the finish line was just sheer love and passion. My dad was here and I am so happy for Staton. We are good friends and he gave me the chance to ride this amazing horse."
Phat Man held for second, two lengths ahead of Sonneteer in third. Flying Honeypot finished fourth. Jockey Gerard Melancon, aboard Sonneteer lodged a claim of foul against Roberto Morales and Phat Man, but it was dismissed by the stewards.
The winner returned $3.40 to win and $2.40 to place.
The Super Derby was the second stakes win for Mr. Misunderstood, who took the Super Derby Prelude Aug. 5 by 2 1/2 lengths.
Bred by Athens Woods out of the Afternoon Deelights mare Jodys Deelite, Mr. Misunderstood now has earnings of $243,794 from six wins and one second in 10 starts.
In the first of seven stakes on the card, Quinta Verde won the $60,000 River City Stakes as the favorite by 3 1/4 lengths for Cox and owners Swift Thoroughbreds, Sheep Pond Partners, and Bradley Thoroughbreds. Under jockey Diego Saenz, the 5-year-old Tamayuz mare completed the 1 1/16 miles on the turf in 1:43.32. Bred by Shadwell, the mare made three starts in Ireland before she came to the United States.
Whispering Oaks Farm's Eden Grey's Kitten picked up his second stakes win in the $50,000 Need For Speed, going about five furlongs on the turf. The Steven Flint trainee and jockey Gerard Melancon got up in the final strides to win by a neck over frontrunning Wings Locked Up in a final time of :56.36. The 5-year-old Kitten's Joy gelding was bred by Danny and Donna Brown in Louisiana.
The $60,000 Sunday Silence Stakes went to Burdo Talking, a 2-year-old son of Tale of Ekati who is now undefeated in two starts. Jerry Durant's colt, who is trained by Danny Pish, went four wide around the final turn and kept going to finish 1 3/4 lengths ahead under Saenz. Bred by J. Adcock and Hume Wornall in Louisiana, Burdo Talking completed the one-mile turf event in 1:37.82.
Curtis Green's homebred Justa Lady earned her first stakes victory when she rallied late to win the $50,000 Tellike Stakes by three-quarters of a length over Our Valor. Another winner for Saenz, the Steve Asmussen-trained 3-year-old More Than Ready filly completed the approximately five-furlong distance on turf in :56.13.
In the $60,000 Happy Ticket Stakes, it was Steve Landers Racing's Lady O'Toole who defeated 11 other fillies by 3 1/2 lengths under jockey Colby Hernandez. Bred by Lansdowne Thoroughbreds in Florida, the 2-year-old Colonel John filly completed the mile on turf in 1:37.03 to notch another winner for Cox.
Greg Allen Johnson's Net Gain and jockey Glenn Corbett won the $60,000 Unbridled Stakes by 3 1/2 lengths going away. The Clinton Stuart-trained Include gelding stopped the clock in 1:41.76 for 1 1/16 miles on the turf. The 5-year-old was bred by Lane Thoroughbreds in Iowa.