Charlotte Weber's Live Oak homebred March to the Arch got his first graded stakes win in Saturday's G2 Wise Dan at Churchill Downs, sparking a 10-1 upset by a neck over 71-1 longshot All Right on the wire. The 4-year-old son of Arch, trained by Mark Casse and ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, covered 1 1/16 miles over the firm turf course in 1:40.58.
“It was just a super ride by Tyler,” said Casse's assistant trainer David Carroll. “He saved ground all the way around, swung him out and he kicked hard. What a race. It was only his third start of the year. He ran at Tampa and got beat only five lengths to Bricks and Mortar. Hopefully he'll have a big year going forward. Not only is Tyler a tremendous rider, he's a tremendous person. He's very mature and it shows every time he rides for us.”
March to the Arch found a comfortable spot along the rail in mid-pack in the early gong, tracking Siem Riep's hot pace of :23.34 and :46.88 about eight lengths off the lead. Still stuck behind rivals in the far turn and through the top of the stretch, a move by Parlor finally opened a seam and Gaffalione angled the gelding out to take advantage.
When given the signal, March to the Arch responded gamely and showed off a good turn of foot to hit the wire a neck in front. All Right had held the lead from mid-stretch after taking advantage of an inside trip, but would have to settle for second as he was out-finished in the final 50 yards. Admission Office also found his best stride late and was closing strongly as he crossed the wire in third, while Parlor checked in fourth.
“The race set up beautifully,” said Gaffalione. “The speed went ahead and I was able to tuck in going into the first turn. So, we were saving ground all around and I kind of just followed Corey (on Parlor) when he started making his move. When I got him outside, he really exploded. He just kicked it into gear.”
Bred in Florida by his owner, March to the Arch is out of multiple graded stakes winner Daveron (Black Sam Bellamy). He broke his maiden in his second start as a sophomore, then won the listed Toronto Cup later that summer at Woodbine. The gelding took a few months off over the winter, returning a winner in the listed Turf Classic Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs at the end of March, and most recently ran fifth in the Grade 1 Turf Classic at Churchill on Derby day. Overall, March to the Arch has won five of his 13 starts to earn over $400,000.
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