Lone Sailor Wins His Derby in Oklahoma; Asmussen and Santana Win Five Stakes

by Melissa Bauer-Herzog

One of the most consistent 3-year-olds in the division this year, Lone Sailor has been a bright light for G M B Racing after the loss of owner Tom Benson in March. But there was one thing the colt couldn’t manage to do – win a Derby.

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Lone Sailor (outside) got the nod over Believe In Royalty (between) and Diamond King (inside) to win the 2018 Oklahoma Derby. (Photo: Melissa Bauer-Herzog)

That all changed in the 1 1/8 mile Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby on Sunday night at Remington Park when the Tom Amoss trainee stuck his nose in front of Believe In Royalty and Diamond King. The victory was the shortest margin in the history of the race and was his fourth attempt at a “Derby.”

Sitting near the back of the field throughout the early running of the race, Lone Sailor was over five lengths behind the pacesetting Diamond King during multiple calls as they clocked the first half in :46.94. Jockey James Graham swung the colt out five wide in the stretch then the game was on. But it wasn’t easy sailing with both Diamond King and Believe In Royalty determined to get the win as well. None of the three horses yielded in the final strides, with a photo called to determine the placings.

The three-way photo finish was so close that even the jockeys weren’t sure who won when they crossed the wire with Graham jubilant when the photo was announced. Believe In Royalty was second with Diamond King in third.

“I had no idea who of the three of us won when we hit the wire,” Graham told track publicity. “But I did know this, I could feel my horse stretching his neck out, so I thought we had a chance. Tom didn’t give me any instructions, he just said that he thought this horse was continuing to get better and better. I could feel that too. He would run second and second and second, but I think now he is finally figuring it out.”

Lone Sailor went off at odds of 3.40-to-1 and completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.97.

Lone Sailor has made nine starts in 2018 for $749,600 in earnings. In his career thus far, the colt has finished second or third in five graded stakes but this is his first stakes victory.

Also notable on the card was a day of epic proportions for trainer Steve Asmussen and jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. The pair combined for five stakes wins, a new record for the track. The pair’s biggest win of the night was in the Grade 3 Remington Park Oaks when favorite She’s a Julie won by 1 ½ lengths over Remedy and Cosmic Burst.

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Jockey Ricardo Santana with E.L. Gaylord Memorial Stakes winner Adventurous Lady. (Photo: Melissa Bauer-Herzog)

But that wasn’t the only spectacular filly on the day for the pair with Kantharos’ 2-year-old Adventurous Lady taking out the E.L. Gaylord Memorial Stakes by 5 ¼ lengths for her third win in five starts. The duo swept the baby races with B.B. Dude getting their day off to a winning start when taking out the Kip Deville in the first stakes of the day. Both victories were for owner Jerry Durant.

Hence also returned to the winner’s circle for the pair when winning the Governor’s Cup for Calumet Farm. Forevamo was second and crowd favorite Shotgun Kowboy was third. Adore shut out the big day of stakes at Remington Park in the Ricks Memorial Stakes with a 3 ½ length victory over Hachi – again for the Asmussen/Ricardo Jr. pair, this time for Winchell Thoroughbreds.

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