News

Destin Sets Track Record, Wins Tampa Bay Derby in Huge Performance for Todd Pletcher

SV Photography

OLDSMAR, FL. – In about the time it took Grade II, $350,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby winner Destin to set a stakes and track record, the concerns over his green performance in last month’s Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes vanished.

The 3-year-old gray son of Giant’s Causeway wore down Outwork, his stablemate from the barn of trainer Todd Pletcher, through a fierce stretch run, posting a one-length victory under jockey Javier Castellano in a time of 1:42.82 that bettered the 2007 mile-and-a-sixteenth stakes record set by Street Sense and the track record of 1:42.83 set by Bold Start in the 2010 Challenger Stakes.

Destin, which thrust himself squarely into the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands picture while becoming the first horse since Burning Roma in 2001 to win both the Sam F. Davis and Tampa Bay Derby, paid $$9.20 to win as the third-wagering choice in the nine-horse field. The third-place finisher, Star Hill, was seven lengths behind Outwork, while the 2-1 favorite, Brody’s Cause, finished a disappointing seventh.

“I was very, very pleased with (Destin’s) performance,” Pletcher said by telephone from Gulfstream. This was the trainer’s third Tampa Bay Derby victory in four years and fourth overall. “He seems to be getting more and more professional and is learning how to finish his races. I felt he would improve with more experience and that is proving to be true.

“After his first two races, he was still piecing things together, but he has gotten better with experience. We will assess him but probably he would not come back in the Florida Derby, which leaves the Wood Memorial, Blue Grass or Arkansas Derby as possibilities.”

Randy Gullatt, Team Manager of owner Twin Creeks Racing Stables, was elated by Destin’s performance. “He has come a long ways (since winning the Sam F. Davis) and I think he is ahead of even where we thought he would be,” Gullatt said. “He’s making big jumps, and we’re very happy. Obviously, this race gives you the option of (another prep before the Kentucky Derby) because of the timing.

“He ran super last time, but I think he was even more into the bit today and just took Javier right where he wanted. I think he ran even better than I was hoping he would,” Gullatt said.

Castellano also sounded as if he has a leading candidate for the May 7 Run for the Roses. “It was a beautiful trip. He broke sharp out of the gate and put me in good position behind the top two horses (Outwork and Riker),” Castellano said. “I thought there would be a little more speed, but the way he set out was beautiful. I asked him turning for home and he responded so well. He finished good and the way he galloped out was phenomenal, especially after the (track record time).

“The way he’s been doing, he could be a (Kentucky Derby) horse. He could be destined to win it – who knows?”

Destin, a son of Giant’s Causeway-Dream of Summer which is a full brother to multiple graded-stakes winner and 2012 Preakness third-place finisher Creative Cause, improved to 3-for-5 lifetime and first-place money of $210,000 raised his earnings to $390,700 — $9,300 shy of his yearling purchase price.

Even though the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby was Outwork’s third start and first around two turns, his effort under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez could lead to an even bigger stage, Pletcher said.

“For Outwork to put forth that type of performance in only his third start is quite impressive. We were hoping he would move forward, and he certainly ran well enough to put himself in the next round of preps, where hopefully he will move forward again,” the conditioner said.

Tampa Bay Derby Quotes
Winning and runner-up trainer Todd Pletcher (via telephone from Gulfstream): “I was very, very pleased with (Destin’s) performance. He seems to be getting more and more professional and is learning how to finish his races. I felt he would improve with more experience and that is proving to be true. After his first two races, he was still piecing things together, but he has gotten better with experience. We will assess him but probably would not come back in the Florida Derby, which leaves the Wood Memorial, Blue Grass or Arkansas Derby as possibilities.

“For Outwork to put forth that type of performance in only his third start is quite impressive. We were hoping he would move forward, and he certainly ran well enough to put himself in the next round of preps, where hopefully he will move forward again.”

Winning jockey Javier Castellano: “It was a beautiful trip, he broke sharp out of the gate and put me in good position behind the top two horses. I thought there would be a little more speed, but the way he set out was beautiful. I asked him turning for home and he responded so well. He finished good and the way he galloped out was phenomenal, especially after the (track-record time). The way he’s been doing, he could be a (Kentucky Derby) horse. He could be destined to win it—who knows?”

Winning owner Randy Gullatt of Twin Creeks Racing Stables: “”He has come a long ways (since winning the Grade III Sam F. Davis) and I think he is ahead of even where we thought he would be. He’s making big jumps, and we’re very happy. Obviously, this race gives you the option of (another prep) because of the timing. He ran super last time, but I think he was even more into the bit today and just took Javier right where he wanted. I’m elated. I think he ran even better than I was hoping he would.”

Runner-up jockey John Velazquez on Outwork: “It was a great performance for a horse that had only two starts and had only been six furlongs. He was trying his best and I couldn’t ask for more than he did. The distance was not a problem.”

Source: Tampa Bay Downs

To Top