Live Oak Plantation's homebred gelding World Approval proved best in Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 American Derby, charging down the Arlington turf course to fend off a late rally by Crittenden.
Ridden by Jose Lezcano, the gray World Approval sat second off a slow early pace set by Nun the Less and seized the lead rounding the far turn, surging to a clear advantage in mid-stretch. Nun the Less was third; King of New York finished fourth.
“I felt very confident all the way and he galloped well all the way and when I asked him at the quarter and then I opened it up a little early,” said Lezcano. “He had a good kick as he went to win the race. He is very good.”
Final time was 1:52.92 for the mile and an eighth turf race after fractions of :25.46, :52.46, 1:18.12, and 1:41.62.
Mark Casse trains World Approval, who is now three-for-seven lifetime. He is a son of Northern Afleet out of the With Approval mare Win Approval.
“I'm really happy with him,” Casse said. “I'm not sure that's exactly the way he wants to run, but good horses can overcome things. There was no pace, so we employed a different strategy. Hopefully there's a little more pace next time so he can come with a later run.
“He got it done and we plan on being back on Aug. 15 (for the Grade I $450,000 Secretariat Stakes). Good horses win when they have to make changes to get it done.”
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