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BALTIMORE, MD – Gap View Stables and Jagger, Inc.’s Indian Lake, having only run twice previously on turf and never farther than a mile and 70 yards in 16 starts, conquered both the course and distance with a front-running 3/4-length triumph over favored Experienced in Saturday’s $100,000 Bald Eagle Derby at historic Pimlico Race Course.
The third running of the 1 1/2mile Bald Eagle Derby for 3-year-olds was the first of four grass stakes worth $500,000 in purses, anchored by the $200,000 Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup (G3). In between were a pair of $100,000 stakes for fillies and mares 3 and up, the 5-furlong Sensible Lady Turf Dash and the 1 1/8-mile Big Dreyfus.
Jockey Ruben Silvera, leading the rider standings at Parx with 132 wins since January 1, gave Indian Lake ($8.60) an ideal trip, establishing a comfortable early lead with plenty left for a drive to the wire in the Daredevil gelding’s first stakes victory.
In fact, Indian Lake hadn’t won since Silvera was last aboard in an April 12 optional claimer at Parx, having gone winless in 4 subsequent starts, 3 of them in stakes. He ran fourth in the 1-mile James W. Murphy May 15 on the Pimlico turf, second in an off-the-grass Jersey Derby May 28, and third in the Sussex July 8 at Delaware Park.
“He rides all my horses at Parx; I told him absolutely nothing. Sometimes I feel when I have a good rider, that’s best. Just get the feel of the race and do your best,” winning trainer and co-owner Jamie Ness said. “Great race. Lot of fun.”
Silvera was able to get away with easy splits of :24.59 for the opening 1/4-mile and :50.83 for a 1/2, tracked by Shackled Love, a stakes winner on dirt making his turf debut, and 56/1 long shot Hanford along the rail. The main challengers didn’t get any closer as Indian Lake went 6 furlongs in 1:17.51 and a mile in 1:44.09.
“(Shackled Love) had the speed, so it all depended on how I break. He broke pretty good and nobody went, so I tried to control the pace in the beginning. I won the race in the beginning,” Silvera said. “Jamie is a good guy, a good trainer. He never gives me instructions. He trusts me. He says, ‘You are the jockey, you know what you’re doing.’
“I know the horse. He’s a good horse. He likes to run in front,” he added. “Every time when he feels a horse behind him, he’s a different horse. He was really relaxed all the way around.”
Experienced, racing for just the second time off a gutsy maiden special weight triumph June 21 at Delaware Park in debut, swung wide at the top of the stretch after racing near the back of the field to make a run, but was unable to catch the winner. It was 3/4 of a length back to Wootton Asset, who edged Take Profit by a nose for third. Hanford and Shackled Love completed the order of finish.
“When I saw 1:17, and this is a good horse, I thought it’s going to take a pretty good horse to catch him. We were stretching our distance, but he’s a good horse,” Ness said. “He galloped out good. You can’t let a good horse go that slow and expect to beat him. I give all the credit in the world to Ruben on that one.”
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