Entered at both Sportsman's Park and Lone Star Park, the connections of Percy Hope chose the right derby to run in Saturday.
Percy Hope was able to control the race on the lead under jockey Jon Court in winning the $500,000 Lone Star Derby in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Percy Hope, the 5-1 third choice in the field of eight, completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50 1/5 in beating 9-5 second choice and Louisiana Derby winner Fifty Stars by two lengths.
Percy Hope, a son of Ide, is owned by Tom and Peter Willmott's Waterfall Stable and trained by Anthony Reinstedler.
The disappointment in the race was Hoovergetthekeys, the 11-10 favorite on the strength of wins in the Golden Gate Derby and Camino Real. Claimed for $32,000 by trainer Brian Koriner for owner Carl Odegaard last Sept. 28, Hoovergetthekeys finished seventh, nearly eight lengths behind the winner.
"For some reason, he just didn't have it today," jockey Ron Warren Jr said. "He can finish much better than that."
In two other significant 3-year-old races, 9-10 favorite Distilled led all the way in winning the $500,000 Illinois Derby at Sportsman's Park in Chicago and Thunder Blitz, a 9-2 shot owned by Frank Stronach, romped to a 6 3/4-length win in the $250,000 Flamingo Stakes at Hialeah Park in Florida.
Distilled, ridden by Mike Smith, completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:51 1/5 for his third win in 10 races. It was his first graded stakes race.
Distilled is owned by Cot Campbell's Dogwood Stable and trained by Todd Pletcher.
Thunder Blitz, ridden by Edgar Prado and trained by Joe Orseno, took over the lead along the inside approaching the top of the stretch and went on to finish the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48 1/5 and probably earned a trip to the Kentucky Derby.
Outofthebox, the 7-10 favorite who finished second to highly regarded Monarchos in last month's Florida Derby, was a distant fifth.
Trainer Michael Dickinson does not start many horses, but when he does it is best to pay close attention.
Fleet Renee, a 3-year-old Seattle Slew filly making her graded stakes debut, upset 1-2 favorite Golden Ballet to win the $576,250 Ashland at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky.
Dickinson has won with five of 10 starters in 2001.
Fleet Renee, ridden by John Velasquez, stalked the pace set by Golden Ballet, took the lead with about a furlong to run and went on to win by 2 1/2 lengths in 1:43 3/5 for the 1 1/16 miles.
Fleet Renee paid $21 and has won four of five in a career that started Nov. 18.
Fleet Renee is owned by Verne Winchell's VHW Stables.
Golden Ballet, a winner of three consecutive graded stakes at Santa Anita, lost for the first time in six races in finishing second--7 1/4 lengths ahead of Latour.
Traditionally, ridden by Pat Day, took advantage of a dream trip to roll to victory in the $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. Traditionally, a 4-year-old son of Mr. Prospector owned by Odgen Phipps and trained by Shug McGaughey, took advantage of a speed duel between 6-5 favorite Wooden Phone and longshot Fan The Flame and drew away in the stretch to win in 1:48 for the 1 1/8 miles. He returned $9.20 with his third consecutive win and first in a stakes. Mr Ross was second and Wooden Phone faded to third after being pushed to a fast 1:09 2/5 for six furlongs. . . . Futural, a 7-1 shot ridden by Garrett Gomez, won the $150,000 San Bernardino Handicap at Santa Anita, beating Irisheyesareflying and Tribunal. Futural, trained by Craig Dollase, ran the 1 1/8 miles in 1:47 4/5. . . . In a race reduced to a field of five after Kerrygold and Sarafan were scratched, Lazy Lode--the 1-2 favorite--won the $150,000 Arcadia Handicap in 1:49 3/5 for the 1 1/8 miles over a yielding turf course. Laffit Pincay rode the winner for Prince Ahmed Salman's Thoroughbred Corp. and trainer Richard Mandella.