ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL – Lothenbach Stables’ Sonic Boom, unbothered by early pace pressure, opened a clear lead on the backstretch and held firm for a 1 3/4-length victory in Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 American Derby for 3-year-olds at Arlington International Racecourse.
The American Derby was the first of four Grade 3 stakes offered on Saturday’s Ride to the Million card presented by Miller Lite, followed by the Modesty Handicap, the Stars and Stripes, and the Arlington Handicap.
Ridden by Julien Leparoux for trainer Ian Wilkes, Sonic Boom was pressed immediately out of the gate by the Joe Sharp-trained Hembree, who prompted the winner through early splits of :23.43 and :48.05 before settling in for a stalking run under Jose Valdivia, Jr. Sonic Boom then established an unchallenged lead on the backstretch, catching a breather through 3/4 in 1:13.65 and 1 mile in 1:38.35, then kicked clear to finish the 1 1/8-miles trip in 1:49.90.
“On the backside, I felt very comfortable,” Leparoux said. “My horse relaxed for me and was doing it very easy. When I asked him at the 1/4 pole, he really kicked on nice.”
The Mike Maker trainee Gorgeous Kitten stayed on well for second under jockey Robby Albarado while unable to seriously threaten the winner.
“He got out (of the gate) really well,” Albarado said. “He got positioned well and was exactly where I wanted him and had no problems. Hats off to the winner today.”
It was another 2 1/4 lengths back to the Anthony Granitz-trained My Bariley in third under Santo Sanjur. Imposing Will, Hembree, Kaliningrad, and Grand Marais completed the order of finish.
Sonic Boom, a son of More Than Ready, won for the fourth time in nine career starts and earned $58,800 to boost his career bankroll to $245,800.
“This was a step forward for him today,” said Wilkes. “I think with Julien, we figured out how to ride him and let him do his thing.”
Sonic Boom returned $3.20, $2.20, and $2.10. Gorgeous Kitten brought back $2.60 and $2.60, while My Bariley paid $5.60.