Making his first try in stakes company, Jeffrey Amling and Merriebelle Stable's homebred Real Story seized command at the start under Joe Bravo and was never headed, winning Saturday's 104th running of the Grade 3 American Derby by 1 3/4 lengths for trainer Ignacio Correas IV at Arlington International Racecourse.
Favorite Captivating Moon closed late to get second while never threatening the winner, with Dubby Dubbie a neck back in third and Pont Du Gard another neck behind in fourth in the field of eight 3-year-olds. Real Story covered 1 1/8 miles on firm turf in 1:47.61 after fractions of :23.25, :47.45, 1:11.45 and 1:35.43.
Real Story paid $16.80 to win.
“The plan was just don't fight with him,” said Correas of Bravo's ride. “We knew he was going to go to the lead; there was no speed. The only question was if he would relax enough to go a mile-and-an-eighth. He's shown since he was a baby that he was a very good horse that needed time to mature and put it all together.”
“The horse (Real Story) just got away from us,” said Florent Geroux, jockey of runner-up Captivating Moon. “It's hard when you ride a closer like him that doesn't have much tactical speed so you are really at the mercy of what's happening in front of you. He ran a great race, settled in nicely. Hopefully we get lucky at some point with a good pace.”
The American Derby was one of four graded stakes on Saturday's Ride to the Million, with the Derby a local prep for the G1 Secretariat on the Arlington Million card Aug. 11. Correas said he planned to run Real Story in the Secretariat.
Real Story, who came into the American Derby off a front-running allowance win on June 15, was winning for the third time in six career starts. Bred in Kentucky by his owners, the gray gelding is from the only crop of the Speightstown sire, Fast Bullet, the G2 True North Winner who died from colic after standing just one year at stud. Real Story was produced from My Own Story, a mare by Lasting Approval.
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