Danny Keene's Texas Chrome showed the racing world the size of his heart Sunday evening at Remington Park, bulling his way through the narrowest of holes along the inside rail to defeat Sticksstatelydude by a half-length in the Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby. The sophomore son of Grasshopper and jockey C.J. McMahon raced to a tough win in the Super Derby 15 days prior to the Oklahoma Derby, but were able to turn in a winning effort Sunday over nine furlongs in 1:48.94 on the good main track. Trained by J.R. Caldwell, Texas Chrome has now won three races in a row.
McMahon had to hustle Texas Chrome from the gate a bit, but with an abundance of speed signed on to the race, the pair were shuffled back to fifth along the inside rail by the first turn. Way Striking took the lead by a length over Inside Straight and Sticksstatelydude through a first quarter in :22.95, followed by Fish Trappe Road stalking from fourth along the outside. Way Striking slowed way down in the backstretch, marking the half-mile in :47.25 as Sticksstatelydude moved to second just off the flank of the leader.
Inside Straight dropped back into the path of Texas Chrome, forcing McMahon to move off the rail approaching the second turn to take up fourth position. Mid-way through the turn Sticksstatelydude had overtaken the leading Inside Straight, and Fish Trappe Road was gamely moving up the outside three-wide. Texas Chrome was forced to wait for a hole to open between horses as he was trapped inside Fish Trappe Road but behind the leaders. Straightening out into the lane, Inside Straight ducked to the rail a bit just as Sticksstatelydude took a half-step to the outside, leaving a hole for Texas Chrome.
Joel Rosario, riding Sticksstatelydude, looked under his left arm just in time to see Texas Chrome and McMahon dip to the inside. Rosario angled his mount toward the rail as well, making the hole as narrow as possible without interfering with Texas Chrome in an attempt to intimidate the colt. McMahan did not let the veteran jockey's tactics scare him or his mount, and, driving Texas Chrome home with every ounce of strength in his body, the pair made it through the gap on the rail to pass Sticksstatelydude and win by a half-length on the wire. Behind them several lengths, Fish Trappe Road kept on to finish third, and longshot Pass the Buck was fourth.
Bred in Texas by Craig D. Upham, Texas Chrome was a $10,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Texas Summer Yearling and Mixed Sale. The 3-year-old colt has now won eight of his 13 career starts, including two graded stakes in a row, for earnings of over $840,000.
Watch the replay of the race here:
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