Longshot Booted Home by Geroux
By Dick Downey
Updated 11:44 pm ET
The Tampa Bay Derby became another in a skein of important Kentucky Derby points races won by a longshot. Quip, who paid $40.20 on a $2 win ticket, outlasted Flameaway to stamp his ticket to the Kentucky Derby starting gate.
The Fair Grounds shipper, ridden by Florent Geroux, took on post-time second choice World of Trouble and Irad Ortiz, Jr. from the get-go, hounding the pacesetter from the outside through the first turn, down the backstretch and around the second turn. Meanwhile, Flameaway, with Jose Lezcano aboard, and 8-5 favoriteVino Rosso, ridden by John Velazquez, dueled for third position a couple of lengths back during the first half-mile. The first two points of call were timed in 24.54 and 49.48, and the first six furlongs was gone in 1:13.78.
Turning for home, World of Trouble still had a slight advantage over Quip, and Flameaway had put away Vino Rosso. At the furlong marker, only a head separated the two leaders, but as they neared the finish line, World of Trouble hit an invisible wall, allowing Quip, then Flameaway to get by. Quip was timed in 1:44.72.
Quip finished a length in front of Flameaway, who was a neck better than World of Trouble. Way back in fourth, beaten six lengths, was Vino Rosso. Another 5 1/2 lengths back was Tiz Mischief, followed by Untamed Domain, Caloric, Arazi Like Move and Grandpa Knows Best.
The winner's share of $210,000 goes to owner WinStar Farm LLC, China Horse Club International Ltd. and SF Racing LLC.
Quip now has 50 Kentucky Derby points, all earned in Tampa. Sam F. Davis Stakes winner Flameaway, who earmed 20 provisional points, will have a total of 30 points upon his late nomination to the Triple Crown; for whatever reason, he wasn't early-nominated. World of Trouble earned his first 10 Derby points, and Vino Rosso, who picked up five points, now has 10 in all.
Winning trainer Rodolphe Brisset is a former jockey and former Bill Mott assistant. He rides Quip in most of his works.
Quip, a son of Distorted Humor out of Princess Ash, by Indian Charlie, was bred in Kentucky by WinStar. Quip won his first two starts, which took place at Churchill Downs and Keeneland last fall, the latter race at 1 1/16 mile. In his third and most recent outing, he finished seventh, beaten eight lengths by Enticed, in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs on Nov. 25.
WINNING CONNECTIONS QUOTES
Trainer Rodolphe Brisset: “He is a pretty forward horse and he’s a smart horse. On paper, it looked like we were going to be there early, and it was a matter if they were going to let us go in 47 seconds or 49. I guess they let us go in 49, which was a little surprising to me. It was just a matter of him being fit enough; I’m not sure if we had him 100 percent, but he was fit enough to win today and that’s the main thing."
Jockey Florent Geroux: “I’ve always thought a lot of him. The way the Jockey Club unfolded, he was between horses most of the time and he didn’t really respond when I called him. But I’ve always known he had talent. Rodolphe rides him in the morning, and he said he was doing fantastic. It seemed like he handled the track very well. Both horses (Quip and pace-setter World of Trouble, who finished third) were doing great, and I’m glad to know Quip was best today.”
Elliott Walden, WinStar Farm: “We knew he had a lot of talent after he won his first two races, but he got a little lost in the Kentucky Jockey Club. I’m not sure what’s next; we’re going to enjoy this one and go from there.”