Given time to mature, Rupp Racing’s Owendale rallied four wide to a breakthrough victory in the Grade 3, $200,000 Stonestreet Lexington Stakes April 13 at Keeneland, beating out several horses hoping to collect enough points to qualify for the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve.
“Maturity was still that thing he had to overcome, and he did it today,” Ricky Giannini, assistant to trainer Brad Cox, said Saturday. “He breezes good, he gallops good, he’s a smart horse, and he finally showed up on race day.”
Owendale broke his maiden in his third start Sept. 22 at Indiana Grand. The Into Mischief colt picked up another win at Fair Grounds Jan. 17 in an allowance race before finishing eighth in the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford Feb. 16.
ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY LEADERBOARD
In the Lexington, Hawaiian Noises showed the way through quarter-mile fractions of :24.33 and :48.23 while Owendale, send off at 12.70-1 odds, was near the back of the 10-horse field under Florent Geroux.
Knicks Go, the 70-1 upset winner of the Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity during Keeneland’s fall meet, briefly took the lead as three-quarters of a mile went in 1:12.88, but Owendale turned for home and picked off the field.
He completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.14 on a fast track, 1 3/4 lengths in front of runner-up Anothertwistafate.
“I was glad he was clear, because he’s one of those horses [who] doesn’t really know about splitting horses,” Giannini said. “So when he got wide and clear, it was just a matter of if he was good enough.”
Owendale settled far back in the Risen Star but was closer to the pace in his three prior starts. Geroux said settling farther back in the Lexington was not the plan.
“It changed a lot when the gates opened,” Geroux said. “He didn’t break so well, [Knicks Go] went out, and [Zenden] looked at me. Things change a lot — sometimes you need to go to Plan B very quick. He ran a very good race.”
The Lexington awarded Derby points on a 20-8-4-2 scale to the first four finishers. El Camino Real Derby winner and Sunland Park Derby runner-up Anothertwistafate came off the pace for second ahead of Sueno, who hit the board in three other Derby preps heading into the Lexington. Knicks Go was fourth.
Anothertwistafate now has 38 points and Sueno has 32, leaving them on the Derby bubble.
Owendale was bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings and is the fifth foal out of the unraced Bernardini mare Aspen Light, who has three winners from five starters. John Wentworth purchased Owendale for $200,000 from the Taylor Made Sales Agency consignment at the 2017 Keeneland September yearling sale. Owendale improved his record to three wins, one second, and one third from eight starts and increased his earnings to $187,225 with the Lexington victory.