Tale of Ekati’s Girvin Doubles Up in FG Derby

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11th at FG , $1000000GII Louisiana Derby (1 1/8m)Winner: Girvin, c, 3 by Tale of Ekati

Girvin | Lou Hodges

It has been better than two decades since Grindstone (Unbridled) won the GII Louisiana Derby and successfully followed up in the GI Kentucky Derby. Though some, including last year’s Louisiana Derby winner Gun Runner (Candy Ride {Arg}), have run with credit beneath the Twin Spires, Brad Grady’s Girvin (Tale of Ekati) will head to Louisville with a live shot after turning in yet another convincing performance as the favorite in Saturday’s Fair Grounds feature. Sent off the 6-5 favorite on the strength of his last-out victory in the GII Risen Star S. Feb. 25, the dark bay colt wrested command at the eighth pole and went on to best ‘TDN Rising Star’ Patch (Union Rags) by 1 1/4 lengths, with Local Hero (Hard Spun) matching his Risen Star finish in third.

Saturday, Fair Grounds
TWINSPIRES.COM LOUISIANA DERBY-GII, $1,000,000, FG, 4-1, 3yo, 1 1/8m, 1:49.77, ft.
1–GIRVIN, 122, c, 3, by Tale of Ekati
1st Dam: Catch the Moon, by Malibu Moon
2nd Dam: Catch My Fancy, by Yes It’s True
3rd Dam: Walk Away Rene, by Gold Alert
($140,000 RNA Ylg ’15 KEESEP; $130,000 Ylg ’15 FTKOCT).
O-Brad Grady; B-Bob Austin & John Witte (KY); T-Joe Sharp;
J-Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr. $600,000. Lifetime Record:
4-3-1-0, $874,400. *1/2 to Cocked and Loaded (Colonel John),
GSW, $491,910. Werk Nick Rating: A.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.2–Patch, 122, c, 3, Union Rags–Windyindy, by A.P. Indy.
TDN Rising Star O-Calumet Farm; B-Calumet Farm (KY);
T-Todd A. Pletcher. $200,000.3–Local Hero, 122, c, 3, Hard Spun–Liam’s Dream, by Saint Liam.
($180,000 Ylg ’15 KEESEP; $500,000 2yo ’16 FTFMAR). O-e Five
Racing Thoroughbreds; B-Three Chimneys Farm LLC (KY);
T-Steven M. Asmussen. $100,000.Margins: 1 1/4, 1 3/4, NO. Odds: 1.30, 4.40, 4.60.
Also Ran: Hollywood Handsome, Sorry Erik, Senior Investment, Guest Suite, Hotfoot, Monaco. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Girvin was off without incident and was content to settle in about fourth position beneath Brian Hernandez Jr. as fellow Grady colorbearer Hotfoot (Aikenite), ostensibly entered in the race as a pacemaker for his more accomplished stablemate, was ridden for speed and took the field under the line for the first time. Hotfoot did his job admirably enough, getting the first couple of furlongs in :23.46 and the half in :47 flat while chased by GII Risen Star S. third Local Hero, with Girvin settled about three off the inside and with clear sailing ahead. The well-regarded ‘TDN Rising Star’ Patch scraped the paint to the inside of the race favorite, and the two chief protagonists commenced moves from their respective positions at the three-eighths. Local Hero was the first to come after the longshot leader, but Girvin was awaiting his cue while Patch and Tyler Gaffalione were left no choice but to try to weave their way through traffic further down towards the inside. Local Hero led clear into the final furlong, but Girvin had the move covered, swept past and was never in serious danger from there, despite lugging in noticeably in the final stages. Patch finished well at the fence to grab second ahead of another hard try from Local Hero.

“He’s such a talented horse,” Hernandez said. “He puts a lot of confidence in you. Today my biggest thing was when I saw Local Hero settle as well as he did, I wanted to stay behind (him) and give myself a target. Every time I needed him he was there for me. Turning for home, he got to switching leads back and forth, but he was kind of just messing around.”

Girvin is set to be the first Kentucky Derby starter for trainer Joe Sharp, the former assistant to Mike Maker.

“It doesn’t feel bad [to have a Kentucky Derby horse],” Sharp admitted. “He’s a talented horse. We’re enjoying the ride. It’s great connections and a great owner and it has been a real team effort.”

The very game head winner of his six-furlong debut Dec. 16, Girvin was switched to the grass and two turns and came running late to be beaten 3/4 of a length into second in the one-mile Keith Gee Memorial S. Feb. 4. Going turf-to-dirt in the Risen Star, the $130,000 Fasig-Tipton October graduate fell nearly 10 lengths behind, but made a sustained run from midfield to score by two lengths from ‘Rising Star’ Untrapped (Trappe Shot), who returned to fill the third spot in the GII Rebel S. in his next trip to the post. For more on owner Brad Grady, click here

What They’re Saying…
“We had a great trip. He’s still young and learning, but today he really ran a big race. There was a lot of traffic out there. Once we dove inside and found a path, he really accelerated and finished up really good. He’s pretty handy and you can do whatever you want with him. He listens very well.”
–Tyler Gaffalione, jockey, Patch

“I had a great trip and we had a good pace in front. He was nice and relaxed and Steve and his team did a great job getting him ready for today. He was a different horse today than last time he ran. I was in position to win the race and they just outran me at the end.” –Florent Geroux, jockey, Local Hero

Pedigree Notes:
A half-brother to graded stakes-winning juvenile Cocked and Loaded (Colonel John), Girvin is the second foal from his dam, who is represented by a yearling colt by Shanghai Bobby and was most recently bred to Curlin. Girvin is one of three graded winners for his sire, himself winner of a major Kentucky Derby prep in the 2008 GI Wood Memorial S. before adding that year’s GI Cigar Mile H.

 

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