Leads At Every Call
By Dick Downey
Photo by Reed Palmer Photography
Coming out of an allowance race win at Delaware Park, Big Bend upset a field of eight in Sunday's Exacta Systems Dueling Grounds Derby at Kentucky Downs.
The race played out in straightforward fashion as Big Bend and rider Drayden Van Dyke led at every call and turned back two challengers. Capture the Glory tracked in second before making a serious run at the leader in the far turn, only to quickly retreat. Just as that happened, favored Parlor, ridden by Julien Leparoux, made a six-wide move coming out of the turn to get to Big Bend in upper stretch. But the son of Union Rags kept running and prevailed over Parlor by three parts of a length in a time of 2:11.57.
Bronson, who was in third position through most of the race, finished third, beaten two lengths for all of it. He was followed across the finish line by Holiday Bonus, Gorgeous Kitten, Hollow Point, Society Beau and Capture the Glory. Giant Payday, Muggsamatic and Watch Me Whip were scratched.
Big Bend, trained by Tom Proctor, recorded his third victory in 10 lifetime starts. With only $57,020 in earnings before today, the $210,490 winner's share of the $350,00 purse pushed his total to $267,510. All his wins have come on turf, but this was his stakes debut on the surface.
Backers of Big Bend were rewarded with payoffs of $17.20, $8.40 and $4.80 on $2 wagers. Parlor paid $4.00 and $2.80 to place and show. Bronson paid $3.60 to show.
Big Bend is a Kentucky-bred out of the Broad Brush mare Lenatareese. He was bred by Daniel J. Burke and Kathleen Schweizer and is owned by Damian Lynch's Union Rags LLC.
Winning jockey Drayden Van Dyke: “First time I’d ridden this horse. Tom Proctor said there’s really no speed. The 11 horse was the only one who had speed. They gave it to us, his ears went up and that basically was the whole trip. I kind of coaxed him along, let him breathe.
"Turning for home, you know how that hill is, you really don’t want to ask going up the hill. So once I got over that hill and started going down, I got to ask him and he really kicked in. And he stayed kicked in. He kept going. He really fought hard once that horse came next to him. Give all the fight to the horse. The only time I saw any other horses was when that horse came along next to me. He was there for a few strides, and my horse stuck his head out for the rest of the way.
"Proctor said, ‘If he breaks running, get an easy lead, that’s a plus for us. If one of them gets stupid, just either sit behind or get outside and just track them.”
Note: It is Van Dyke’s 23rd birthday. “It doesn’t seem like it’s been five years. It seems like last year I was an apprentice, that’s how fast it’s gone by. But time flies when you’re having fun, and I’m having lot of fun.”
Winning trainer Tom Proctor: He kidded around with reporters but walked off essentially without answering questions.
Eddie Kenneally, trainer of Parlor: “Big race. Julien told me maybe the distance was a little bit far for him. I didn’t realize he actually put his head in front at the eighth pole. But he said the last sixteenth of a mile he just kind of evened out and couldn’t actually go by the leader. So he ran a good race. No excuses. The winner ran a good race.”