WinStar Farm’s Super Saver, benefiting from a ground-saving ride by Calvin Borel, held off a late bid from Ice Box to win the 136th running of the $2,185,200 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands on Saturday afternoon by 2 ½ lengths before a crowd of 155,804 at Churchill Downs.
The attendance figure was the sixth-largest in Kentucky Derby history. The all-time Derby Day record was established in 1974 when 163,628 saw Cannonade win the 100th Run for the Roses.
The victory gave trainer Todd Pletcher his first win the Kentucky Derby. He saddled four runners in this year’s race and had previously started 24 runners.
The victory also was sweet for WinStar, which started Derby Week with four Kentucky Derby hopefuls only to have Rule withdrawn from consideration early in the week and Endorsement bowing out because of an injury suffered in a workout on Wednesday. WinStar’s other Derby entrant, American Lion, finished 11th.
Conveyance led the field of 20 through early fractions of :22.63, :46.16 and 1:10.58 with Sidney’s Candy in closest pursuit followed by Line of David and Noble’s Promise. Borel had Super Saver in sixth place against the rail.
As the field reached the far turn, Willie Martinez sent Noble’s Promise to the outside of Conveyance and surged to the lead while Borel snaked along the rail to draw on even terms. Super Saver opened a daylight advantage at the three-sixteenths pole and had more than enough to fend off Ice Box and give Borel his third Kentucky Derby victory in four years.
Borel won the 2007 Derby on Street Sense and last year on Mine That Bird and became the first jockey since Eddie Delahoussaye in 1982-83 to win consecutive Kentucky Derbys.
Super Saver, a homebred son of Maria’s Mon out of the A.P. Indy mare Supercharger, ran the mile and a quarter over a track rated as “sloppy” in 2:04.45.
The victory was worth $1,425,200 and increased Super Saver’s earnings to $1,826,432. The win was Super Saver’s third in seven starts and second stakes victory. He also accounted for last fall’s Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (GII) at Churchill Downs and became the first horse to complete a Kentucky Jockey Club-Kentucky Derby double since Cannonade.
Super Saver returned $18, $8.80 and $6. Ice Box, ridden by Jose Lezcano, returned $11.20 and $8 with Paddy O’Prado, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, finishing a neck back in third and returning $7.40 to show.
Following the top three in order were Make Music for Me, Noble’s Promise, favored Lookin At Lucky, Dublin, Stately Victor, Mission Impazible, Devil May Care, American Lion, Jackson Bend, Discreetly Mine, Dean’s Kitten, Conveyance, Homeboykris, Sidney’s Candy, Line of David, Awesome Act and Backtalk.