Ultimate Eagle holds on for Oak Tree Derby win
Ultimate Eagle held on to a half-length win over a fast-closing Venomous in the Grade 2 Oak Tree Derby at Santa Anita. Cozy Kitten finished third, ahead of Midnight Interlude.
Ultimate Eagle, a 3-year-old colt by Mizzen Mast, is rained by Mike Pender for B.J. Wright and was ridden by Martin Pedroza.
The running time for the mile and one-eighth on the turf was 1:47.03.
MARTIN PEDROZA, ULTIMATE EAGLE, WINNER: “I really didn't want to be in a speed duel, but I had a fast horse and had to use it to my advantage. I had an inside post and the other speed horse came beside me and I took advantage of that into the first turn. My horse was going fast but he was pretty comfortable. There was never a doubt in my mind he could run this big. In my mind he was not 40-1 or whatever his odds were. I like this horse and I told Mike “wow” when I worked him last. That's all I can say about this horse.”
MIKE PENDER, ULTIMATE EAGLE, WINNER: “Yeah, we had intentions of taking the lead and saying come catch me. It looked like there was contending speed but this horse has one way of going. This was the way he won down at Del Mar (Sept. 3) and why change it? No, it wasn't (a big step up in class). This was our Kentucky Derby horse before he got colic as a 2-year-old. It's a miracle he's even here. It would make a great story. (Martin) Pedroza fits this horse just beautifully. It's like putting a hand in a glove.”
B.J. WRIGHT, WINNING OWNER: “He came within a breath of dying of colic last June . . . We're very proud that he's alive.”
LEONARD POWELL, VENOMOUS, SECOND: “It was a very good race. They went a bit fast for him early but he was nice and relaxed. Joel (Rosario) made the right decision by not hurrying him. You could see Joel was taking care of the horse. He wasn't hard on the horse because he could see he couldn't win it anymore, but the horse flew the last furlong. I was very impressed.”
NOTES: The winning owner is B.J. Wright of Pasadena.