DEL MAR, CA – John Oxley and My Meadowview Farm’s Ride a Comet shipped in to take on the west coast’s top 3-year-old turfers and was able to top them all at the wire for his first graded stakes score in Sunday’s Grade 2, $250,000 Del Mar Derby.
Breaking well from post 8 under Drayden Van Dyke, Ride a Comet sat off near the rear of the field while Take the One O One set the early pace through fractions of :23.97, :48.26, and 1:12.68. Heading into the far turn, the even-money favorite River Boyne moved up to take command while Ride a Comet waited patiently for room to run. Finding a hole through which he could explode off the far turn, Ride a Comet was tipped out to run three-wide and chased down River Boyne, collaring him in the final 1/16. The Mark Casse trainee held off a late bid from Kazan on his outside to win the 1 1/8-mile event by 1 1/2 lengths in a final time of 1:48.11.
“They told me he was real classy and that he had a nice kick,” said Van Dyke, who now holds a 40-37 edge in the meet’s jockey standings over Flavien Prat, who rode River Boyne. “That was all I knew (about Ride a Comet). He warmed up real well and gave me confidence. During the race, it all came up perfect. Good trip all the way. When I swung him out, he gave me a big kick. I knew right then we were going to win it.”
Kazan took second over River Boyne by a 1/2-length, with Majestic Eagle a neck behind in fourth. Restrainedvengence took fifth, while Desert Stone nosed out sixth over Arawak. Completing the order came Epical, Pubilius Syrus, Andesh, Take the One O One, and Animosity, who reared up in the gate and was beind held by the assistant starter when the gates opened, so he was declared a non-starter.
Ride a Comet’s win was his third in his last four outings and improved his overall record to 10-5-0-1. The 3-year-old son of Candy Ride increased his career bankroll to $305,856 in the longest start of his career.
“Mark gave the instructions to Drayden,” said Randi Melton, assistant to Casse. “‘Good luck, safe trip’ was all he said. I thought there was enough pace up front and Drayden had him in a perfect position. He was sitting just off the pace, like you would hope, and turning for home, he just took off, and I started getting really excited. First time you go a mile and 1/8, there’s always a question mark, but we were pretty confident.”
Ride a Comet returned $13.60 to win, $7 to place, and $4 to show. Kazan brought back $38.20 to place and $12.60 to show, while River Boyne paid $2.40 to show.