Carolyn Wilson’s The Tabulator is the early points leader on the 2018 “Road to the Kentucky Derby” after he rolled to a three-quarter length victory over favored Hollywood Star in Saturday’s 36th running of the $150,000 Iroquois (Grade III) for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs.

The Tabulator, unbeaten in three starts, covered 1 1/16 miles over a fast track in 1:45.50 to bank $88,350 and earn 10 points on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” point system that will determine the field for next year’s 144th running of the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) on May 5, 2018 at Churchill Downs.

The Iroquois was the first in a series of 35 select races on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby,” which is now entering its sixth year.

“It’s always exciting to get a win here at Churchill Downs,” said The Tabulator’s jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. “He’s still young as we know but now he’s proven around two turns. We’ve always thought highly of him and he’s always acted like a nice horse from the beginning.

The Tabulator, who invaded Kentucky from trainer Larry Rivelli’s Chicago base, tracked the early pace set by Smart Remark as he led the field of 10 juveniles through fractions of :23.12 and :47.73. The Tabulator took command around the final turn and spurted clear at the head of the stretch to lead by 2 ½ lengths. Hollywood Star, who was well-placed early on, commenced his rally and tried to run down The Tabulator in deep stretch as the winner wandered to the outside rail near the finish but held sway in the final stages for the victory.

“I’ve never had a horse start off like this and I’ve been in the game for more than 15 years,” Wilson said. “Larry is a wonderful trainer. He and his entire team do such a great job with our horses and it’s so exciting to have a horse like this. It’s really easy when I just write a check and this happens.”

The Tabulator paid $10.40, $4.80 and $3.40 as the 4-1 third betting choice. Hollywood Star, ridden by Robby Albarado, returned $2.80 and $2.40. Bashford Manor (GIII) winner Ten City rallied to finish another 2 ½ lengths back in third and paid $3.20.

Ebben, Big Gemmy, Flameaway, Pont Du Gard, Smart Remark, Tres Equis and Mo Diddley completed the order of finish.

“I’m happy with the way he ran,” said Hollywood Star’s trainer Dale Romans, who trails Bill Mott, 701-699, for most wins by a trainer in Churchill Downs’ 143-year history. “He was second in a tough race and he ran well. He got off a little slow and he came running and galloped-out really strong. He showed he likes the racetrack, so we’ll move on to the next step.”

The Iroquois also is part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In Juvenile Division” Challenge and the win by The Tabulator earned the Kentucky-bred son of Dialed In a guaranteed spot in the starting gate for the $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar on Nov. 4. The Tabulator’s $60,000 entry fees will be paid by Breeders’ Cup Ltd. and his connections will receive a travel stipend for his possible trip to California.

“With this being the kickoff for the ‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’ and a Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’, it’s very exciting to have a horse of this quality,” Valdivia said.

The Tabulator’s earnings total $143,550. Previously, he won Iowa’s $65,000 Prairie Gold Juvenile at six furlongs on July 28.

“We’ve always thought highly of him and he’s always acted like a nice horse from the beginning,” Valdivia said. “We won impressively in the debut but Larry couldn’t get an allowance race to go at Arlington so he shipped to Prairie Meadows. In both of these two starts he was still pretty green. Even in this race he still had a little immaturity. We inherited the lead a little before I actually wanted to. He broke so well and we got into a good position and relaxed early. When we turned for home in front he still looked around a little bit in the stretch but I’m just glad we were able to get there.”

The Tabulator was bred in Kentucky by Extern Developments Ltd. The dark bay or brown colt is out of the Giant’s Causeway mare Fly to the Stars.

IROQUOIS QUOTES

JOSE VALDIVIA JR., jockey of THE TABULATOR (winner): “It’s always exciting to get a win here at Churchill Downs. He’s still young as we know but now he’s proven around two turns. We’ve always thought highly of him and he’s always acted like a nice horse from the beginning. We won impressively in the debut but Larry (Rivelli) couldn’t get an allowance race to go at Arlington so he shipped to Prairie Meadows ($65,000 Prairie Gold Juvenile Stakes). In both of these two starts he was still pretty green. Even in this race he still had a little immaturity. We inherited the lead a little before I actually wanted to. He broke so well and we got into a good position and relaxed early. When we turned for home in front he still looked around a little bit in the stretch but I’m just glad we were able to get there. With this being the kickoff for the ‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’ and a Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’, it’s very exciting to have a horse of this quality.”

CAROLYN WILSON, owner of THE TABULATOR (winner): “I’ve never had a horse start off like this and I’ve been in the game for more than 15 years. Larry (Rivelli) is a wonderful trainer. He and his entire team do such a great job with our horses and it’s so exciting to have a horse like this. It’s really easy when I just write a check and this happens.”

DALE ROMANS, trainer of HOLLYWOOD STAR (runner-up): “I’m happy with the way he ran. He was second in a tough race and he ran well. He got off a little slow and he came running and galloped-out really strong. He showed he likes the racetrack, so we’ll move on to the next step.”

ROBBY ALBARADO, jockey on HOLLYWOOD STAR (runner-up): “He ran well. He broke a little tardy, a little sluggish. But he got an inside trip and came out nice turning for home. I’ll congratulate the winner – they have a nice horse. And Hollywood Star is a good horse. He ran well.”

KENNY McPEEK, trainer of TEN CITY (third): “For some reason he just kind of hopped out of the gate. I don’t know what that’s about. He’s done it a couple of races in a row. But he’s fighting back and he’s a nice horse. He was really, really wide on the second turn.”

JACK GILLIGAN, jockey on TEN CITY (third): “I thought he ran a real nice race again today. He didn’t show as much speed as I anticipated today. It was kind of the same deal as Ellis Park – he just showed enough to keep up with the pace. He’s a developing horse now and maybe early in the year he’d go :45 (for a half-mile) and stuff, but now he’s more mature and he’s real relaxed and everything. Overall I was happy with his run – I just wish that, in hindsight, we could have a little bit closer.”

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