Opening Night's Derby Trial Matches Paynter, Bourbon Courage
Paynter, who finished fourth in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby in just his second start, and the undefeated Bourbon Courage headline a field of 11 entered for the 88th running of the Grade III The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Paynter won his racing debut on Feb. 18 by 4 1/4 lengths. Off that effort, he made his stakes debut in the Santa Anita Derby. Paynter finished 3 3/4 lengths behind winner I’ll Have Another.
Martin Garcia, who has been aboard the son of Awesome Again in his two starts, has the call Saturday night on Paynter, who will break from post 7.
Paynter has graded earnings of $45,000. Should he win the Derby Trial, he would vault to number 22 on the Kentucky Derby graded earnings list. While there's no indication Paynter is being pointed to the Kentucky Derby, the earnings would certainly come in handy in case of an overflow Preakness field -- if connections pursue that path.
Run at a mile, the Derby Trial has a purse of $200,000 added. After payment of 1% to all owners of horses finishing sixth through last, 62% of the remaining purse will be paid to the the winner, 20% to second, 10% to third, 5% to fourth and 3% to fifth.
Bourbon Courage, trained by Kellyn Gorder, won his first two starts by a combined 11 lengths at Fair Grounds. Bourbon Courage will break from post 11 and be ridden by Miguel Mena.
Two stakes winners are also in the field.
Motor City, winner of the one-mile, one-turn Grade III Iroquois at Churchill last fall, finished eighth in the Grade III Swale in his lone start of 2012. The Derby Trial is also a mile. Brian Hernandez Jr. has the mount on Motor City, who will break from post 10.
Tarpy’s Goal, winner of the Sophomore Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in his most recent start, will break from the rail under Leandro Goncalves. Tarpy’s Goal is one four entrants in the Derby Trial trained by Dale Romans.
The field for The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial, from the rail out: Tarpy’s Goal (Goncalves, 118 pounds), The Black (Calvin Borel, 118), Saint of Saints (Kent Desormeaux, 118), Nonios (Garrett Gomez, 118), Hierro (Julien Leparoux, 118), Quick Wit (Corey Lanerie, 118), Paynter (Garcia, 118), Seve (Jesus Castanon, 118), Stealcase (Shaun Bridgmohan, 118), Motor City (Hernandez Jr., 120), Bourbon Courage (Mena, 118).
The Derby Trial will be the marquee attraction on Opening Night presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka. First post time for Saturday’s 11-race card is 6:00 ET, with the Derby Trial scheduled as the eighth race with a 9:39 p.m. post time.
--Edited Churchill Downs release with additional content by Dick Downey