EPSOM, England — American jockey Steve Cauthen rode Reference Point to a wire-to-wire victory Wednesday in the 208th Derby classic for 3-year-olds, holding off a late challenge to win the 1 1/2-mile race by a length and a half.
Cauthen, who became the first American to win the Epsom Derby in 65 years when he rode Slip Anchor to victory in 1985, pushed the Mill Reef colt to the front as soon as the 19-horse field settled after breaking from the stalls. Mill Reef won the classic in 1971.
Reference Point, like Slip Anchor trained by Henry Cecil, came under pressure in the final furlong from Most Welcome and Bellotto, but Cauthen nudged his horse clear to win.
"You've got to keep at him; he's aware of everything that goes on around him," said Cauthen, 27, the first jockey to win both the Epsom Derby and the American Triple Crown. "He even looked at the crowd at the top of the hill."
Most Welcome and Bellotto, ridden by brothers Paul and Pat Eddery, crossed the line together. Most Welcome, owned by Eric Moller and trained by Geoff Wragg, was placed second, with Khalid Abdulla's Bellotto third in the photo finish.
Reference Point, owned by Louis Freeman, 70, was favored at 6-4 to take the $750,000 first prize--the shortest odds since 1981. That year, the ill-fated Shergar, later victim of a kidnapping, streaked home by 10 lengths at 10-11.