I once heard that a bad day at the races is better than a great day anywhere else. On my end, it was a bad day going 0 for 2 in the Gotham Stakes and John Battaglia Memorial Stakes. But on the other hand, it was a great day for the winning connections of Stay Thirsty and Positive Response as they elevated their status and put themselves in contention for a spot in the derby field.
Stay Thirsty scored a big win for his owner Mike Repole and trainer Todd Pletcher in the G.III Gotham Stakes (race replay). Forced 4 wide on the first turn, Ramon Dominguez sat patiently and worked his colt into the steady pace. Making his move on the final turn, Stay Thirsty edged toward leaders The Fed Eased and Norman Asbjornson and exploded on the final stretch to win by 3 1/4 lengths. Stay Thirsty covered the 1 1/16 distance in 1:44.78 and added $150,00 with his first graded stakes win.
- Stay Thirsty $3.80 $3.30 $2.10
- Norman Asbjornson $18.60 $5.10
- Toby’s Corner $2.30
Pletcher now has a dominant one-two punch leading to the Kentucky Derby with Stay Thirsty and Uncle Mo and both are owned by Repole. With Uncle Mo pointing toward the Wood Memorial, look for Stay Thirsty to start next in either the Arkansas Derby or the Florida Derby.
Positive Response added a win to his derby resume with a victory in the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park. Coming off a 3rd place finish in the El Camino Real Derby, trainer William Morey decided to switch from the synthetic surfaces of California to the synthetic surfaces of Kentucky. His decision paid off. Jocky Julien Couton sent Positive Response to the lead and was never really tested, cruising to a 7 length victory. Positive Response covered the 1 1/16 distance in 1:45.13. This talented colt has now earned over $200,000 for his owners, but has only earned $24,ooo in graded earnings. Look for him start next in the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes later this month.
- Positive Response $6.00 $3.60 $3.00
- Taptowne $8.60 $5.20
- Son of Posse $13.80
We would like to congratulate all of the winning connections in this weekend’s races. Stay Thirsty’s win solidified himself as a legit contender for the derby crown and he also stepped out of the looming shadow of his stablemate Uncle Mo. The first weekend of March has come and gone and the road to the derby continues to provide great excitement. We look forward to final round of racing from Aqueduct and Turfway Park in the coming weeks. Until then, keep your eyes on your programs as the derby field begins to take shape.
Written by Big Brink