Martin Cherry’s homebred Embellishing Bob was elevated to first place after Bayern was disqualified for drifting out in deep stretch to win the 90th running of the $176,700 Derby Trial (Grade III) for 3-year-olds before a crowd of 24,431 on the opening night of the 38-day Spring Meet.
Trained by Steve Margolis and ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., Embellishing Bob tracked odds-on favorite through fractions of :23.23, :46.62 and 1:11.19. At the top of the stretch, Embellishing Bob drew even with Bayern and the two raced through the stretch as a team, hitting the wire a nose apart with a fast-closing Myositis Dan another nose back.
The time of the race was 1:36.73 over a fast main track.
Embellishing Bob is a Kentucky-bred son of Northern Afleet out of the Defrere mare Kirsche. The victory was worth $106,267 to Embellishing Bob and boosted his earnings to $143,017 with a record of 4-2-1-1.
Embellishing Bob returned $11.60, $4.60 and $3.40. Bayern, ridden by Rosie Napravnik, returned $3 and $2.40 with Myositis Dan, ridden by Joe Rocco Jr., returning $3.80 to show.
Laddie Boy finished another 1 ¾ lengths back in fourth and was followed in order by Friendswith K Mill, Spot, Matador and Big Sugar Soda.
Racing on Kentucky Derby Week at Churchill Downs resumes Tuesday with a 10-race program that begins at 12:45 p.m. ET.
DERBY TRIAL QUOTES
BRIAN HERNANDEZ Jr., rider of Embellishing Bob (winner): – “She (rider Rosie Napravnik on Bayern) was getting out the whole way. She bumped us. That’s why I claimed.
"There didn’t look to be a whole lot of speed in the race, so I just rode it the way it came up. He’s a young horse, but he’s talented and we tried to take advantage of that tonight. We asked him to run hard and he did. He showed just how good he is.”
STEVE MARGOLIS, trainer of Embellishing Bob (winner): “We were happy with his last race at the Fair Grounds. And it was like Mr. (Martin) Cherry said, let’s take a shot. He’s been doing really good and I knew the one-turn mile wasn’t out of his reach.”
On his next race: “We’ve got to look at his family and take a little more conservative of a route. His family is a lot of seven-furlong horses, maybe milers, so I’ll talk with Mr. Cherry about it… There’s the Woody Stephens on Belmont Day. We’ll just have to kick it around but he’s a nice colt and he’s run good every time we’ve run him. He did get bumped legitimately by Bob’s (Baffert’s) horse with his hind end and so we dug in and ran a big race.”
ROSIE NAPRAVNIK, rider of BAYERN (second-place finisher): “It wasn’t any more me than him. I was surprised he claimed on me. I thought we won it fair. My horse ran hard and ran well.”
BOB BAFFERT, trainer of BAYERN (second-place finisher): (On the DQ) – “I don't know. I never got to see it. There was contact. Apparently it was the right call because they took him down. What are you going to do? At first I thought he hung on and won. Then I saw the inquiry. I saw all the bumping, there was a lot of stuff going on there. He ran well, but he’s still a young horse. We need to get him back, a little bit off the lead. He got a little tired at the end. The track is demanding tonight. He got a lot out of it.”
(After seeing the replay) “They made the right call.”
Will he run in the Preakness: “We’ll see. We’ll play it by ear.”