Close menu
Amoss Rolls Dice Again With Sermononthemount In Ellis Park Derby
Sermonthemount, with pink and black silks, finishing second in the Indiana Derby (Credit: Coady Photography)

Amoss Rolls Dice Again With Sermononthemount In Ellis Park Derby

HENDERSON, KY – Trainer Tom Amoss finds a different scenario facing Sermononthemount in running Emil Cerullo’s 3-year-old colt in Sunday’s $200,000 RUNHAPPY Ellis Park Derby than what awaited him in last month’s Indiana Derby (G3) at Indiana Grand.

The Indiana Derby had a heavy favorite in Churchill Downs’ Matt Winn (G3) winner Fulsome, but the time-honored racing tenet is that you don’t run away from one horse. Indeed, Sermononthemount finished second at 18/1 as Mr. Wireless rolled to victory in the 1 1/16-mile stakes. Fulsome finished a non-threatening third.

The Ellis Park Derby is part of a 5-stakes Sunday card that also features the $125,000 RUNHAPPY Groupie Doll for fillies and mares, $125,000 RUNHAPPY Ellis Park Juvenile, $125,000 RUNHAPPY Ellis Park Debutante, and $100,000 Audubon Oaks.

Full Card Plays Available Now

There’s a reason we’re the #1 trusted source for premium racing picks & info.

The 1 1/8-mile Ellis Park Derby would not appear to have a prohibitive favorite in its field of six 3-year-olds. While Super Stock won the Arkansas Derby (G1), he also finished fourth in the Texas Derby and Iowa Derby following a 16th in the Kentucky Derby (G1).

Also entered: Indiana Derby fourth-place finisher Starrininmydreams, Ellis Park allowance winner Colonel Bowman, allowance runner-up (by a nose) There Goes Harvard, and Ellis maiden winner Hanks.

“He’s a horse that wants some pace up front and be allowed to finish. And we really didn’t get that in the Indiana Derby,” Amoss said. “He’s also a horse, in my opinion, that rather come around than go inside. He kind of likes to have one of those trips where he’s not crowded in any shape or form, and he didn’t get that either. But he still ran well. The Ellis Park Derby is a logical race for us because #1, it’s right there. It’s very attractive purse-wise, and I like the distance.”

The Indiana Derby “was a race on paper that I thought was worth rolling the dice,” he said. “I think that’s kind of what’s happening again… I see a field in the Ellis Park Derby with a lot of horses that are up and coming and improving, but certainly no horse in there that would scare another one out.”

James Graham has the return mount on Sermononthemount.

Graham turned out to be prescient when he said this before the Indiana Derby: “He tries his butt off every time, so you have to take a little bit of a shot — and he’s doing good. What if Fulsome has a bad day? And hopefully we have a good day. Give it a shot and see what happens.”

Mr. Wireless validated his Indiana Derby victory by taking last Saturday’s West Virginia Derby (G3).

“He showed he is legit by the results of the West Virginia Derby,” Amoss said. “So that’s nice, too.”

Sermononthemount didn’t run well on turf when claimed for $50,000 at the Fair Grounds in March, and 2 races later, Amoss put him in for a $30,000 claiming race as a confidence-builder. Off that win, he began tackling stakes company. The result was third in the Prairie Mile and then the Indiana second.

“The Ellis Park Derby will give him a chance to really show what he can do at more distance,” Amoss said. “He’s an improving young horse.”

Meet-leading trainer Brad Cox has a barn well-stocked with 3-year-old stakes winners, and Colonel Bowman will try to become the latest in the Ellis Park Derby.

Colonel Bowman earned a shot at stakes company by taking an Ellis Park allowance race.

“He’s trained very well up to the race,” said Jorje Abrego, who oversees Cox’s Ellis Park operation. “It was his first time going two turns last time; he handled it very well. After the race, he came back good, breezed a couple of times really good. I’m very excited because it’s a mile and 1/8. I think he’ll run well. I like the horse. I’m not really scared of the competition. I think he has a big shot to win the race.”

Abrego, who was around Colonel Bowman all spring at Churchill Downs, says he’s noticed a change.

“He gallops a mile and 1/2 every day,” he said. “Second round, he gets stronger and stronger. I think the two turns for him is very good.”

Join the Inner Circle

Sign up for exclusive 10% discount on orders, plus be the first to access our daily free and premium horse racing picks, articles, podcasts, and more!

Sign Up