Two Phil's 'Rocks' Cleveland In Ohio Derby Romp

Two Phil's | JJ Zamaiko


On the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland sits the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and about 15 miles away Saturday afternoon in southeast suburban North Randall, Patricia's Hope, Phillip Sagan and Madaket Stables' Two Phil's (Hard Spun) turned in a heavy metal performance of his own, treating seven rivals to a thorough 'beat'-ing in the $500,000 GIII Ohio Derby. 'TDN Rising Star' Bishops Bay (Uncle Mo), narrowly defeated by next-out GI Belmont S. hero Arcangelo (Arrogate) in the GIII Peter Pan S. last month, was no match for the winner in second, while longshot Hayes Strike (Connect) ran on to be third.

With Jareth Loveberry forced to the sidelines by a most untimely injury, it was Gerardo Corrales–in the irons for Two Phil's's debut at Churchill Downs almost exactly one year ago Saturday–who got the call-up from trainer Larry Rivelli, and despite never being on a stage quite this big, executed a tactically perfect ride on the chestnut.

Away in good order from stall four in the eight-horse field, Two Phil's raced prominently as the rail-drawn Henry Q (Blame) was ridden aggressively by Kendrick Carmouche and led into the first turn while making the running in the three or four path. Bishops Bay raced closest in attendance, and for a stride or two, it appeared that Corrales was going to dive down to the inside before thinking better of it and settling Two Phil's on the back of Bishops Bay. It was arguably the winning move, better than six furlongs from home.

Content to bide his time from third down the backstretch as Henry Q took them through four furlongs in a sensible :47.42, Two Phil's was asked to improve at the three-eighths peg and quickly raced up to his chief market rival, as Henry Q capitulated readily. In front without having been unduly asked by Corrales with a bit less than a quarter-mile to travel, Two Phil's kicked for home and raced away to a comfortable victory. Bishops Bay was switched out at the midstretch marker by Florent Geroux, but it was far too little and far too late.

Runaway winner of last year's GIII Street Sense S., Two Phil's covered himself in glory on the New Orleans road to the Triple Crown, finishing runner-up in the GIII Lecomte S. in January and third to Angel of Empire (Classic Empire) in the GII Risen Star S. the following month. Connections then selected a path of lesser resistance, swerving the GII Louisiana Derby in favor of the GIII Jeff Ruby Steaks Mar. 25, and he duly obliged with a 5 1/4-length thrashing of the classy Major Dude (Bolt d'Oro). Having earned his fair share of admirers, Two Phil's sat relatively close to the wicked early pace in the May 6 GI Kentucky Derby at odds shy of 10-1, went for an early move to lead into the stretch and fought on bravely to be beaten a length into second by Mage (Good Mgic), with Angel of Empire another half-length back in third.

The obligatory discussion of a Preakness S. appearance ensued, always a polarizing debate, but connections stuck to their guns and landed on the Ohio Derby as a springboard to the summer's seven-figure 3-year-old races in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

Following his performance in front of an enthusiastic crowd Saturday, it is crystal clear that Two Phil's is hitting all the right notes with plenty to play for in the second half of the year.

Pedigree Notes:

Two Phil's is one of 97 worldwide black-type winners (47 graded/group winners) for Darley America's outstanding Hard Spun and is one of three stakes winner and the only one at the graded level for his now Turkish-based broodmare sire General Quarters.

Breeder and part-owner Phillip Sagan raced Mia Torri to four wins from 10 starts including victories in the Sunshine Millions Distaff and Sugar Maple S. while placing in the GIII Charles Town Oaks and the GIII Bed o' Roses S. A half-sister to a pair of stakes performers, the 10-year-old Mia Torri has a 2-year-old colt by Omaha Beach and a yearling colt by McKinzie. There is no reported foal as yet for 2023, but she was bred to Omaha Beach last season.




Saturday, Thistledown
OHIO DERBY-GIII, $500,000, Thistledown, 6-24, 3yo, 1 1/8m, 1:49.60, ft.
1–TWO PHIL'S, 126, c, 3, by Hard Spun
1st Dam: Mia Torri (MSW & MGSP, $314,720), by General Quarters
2nd Dam: Flip the Stone, by Birdstone
3rd Dam: Flippy Diane, by Aaron's Concorde
($150,000 RNA Ylg '21 KEESEP). O-Patricia's Hope LLC, Phillip Sagan and Madaket Stables LLC; B-Phillip Sagan (KY); T-Larry Rivelli; J-Gerardo Corrales. $300,000. Lifetime Record: GISP, 10-5-2-1, $1,583,450. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Click for the free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Bishops Bay, 126, c, 3, Uncle Mo–Catch My Drift, by Pioneerof the Nile. ($450,000 Ylg '21 KEESEP). 'TDN Rising Star' O-Spendthrift Farm LLC, Steve Landers, Martin S. Schwartz, Michael Dubb, Ten Strike Racing, Jim Bakke, Titletown Racing, LLC, Kueber Racing, LLC, Big Easy Racing LLC, Rick Kanter, Michael J. Caruso and WinStar Farm LLC; B-WinStar Farm, LLC (KY); T-Brad H. Cox. $100,000.
3–Hayes Strike, 126, c, 3, Connect–Plaid, by Deputy Commander. O/B-Dixiana Farms LLC (KY); T-Kenneth G. McPeek. $50,000.
Margins: 5 3/4, 7, 3 1/4. Odds: 0.60, 1.40, 18.30.
Also Ran: Lord Miles, Henry Q, Timesatappin, Agnello's Dream,Last Cookie.
Click for the chart and the PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

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