Clint Gasaway, Lance Gasaway, Madaket Stables, and Wonder Stables' Wells Bayou put in a winning performance in Saturday's Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, leading throughout the 1 3/16-mile contest to score 100 points toward the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby. The 3-year-old son of Lookin at Lucky was sent to post as the 3-1 favorite, and gave jockey Florent Geroux and trainer Brad Cox the Fair Grounds Oaks-Louisiana Derby sweep after they won with Bonny South earlier on the card.
Second last out after leading the charge in Oaklawn's G3 Southwest Stakes over 1 1/16 miles, Wells Bayou handled the Louisiana Derby's additional distance to stop the clock in 1:56.47 over Fair Grounds' fast main track.
“Now he is prepping for the first Saturday in September so it's a long way away and many things can happen,” said Geroux. “I am just hoping he comes back healthy and just go from there. We are going to enjoy those two very nice victories today.”
The updated standings for the Road to the Kentucky Derby are as follows: Derby Oaks Leaderboard.
Wells Bayou was quick out of the gate to take the lead in the long run to the first turn, and pulled away to a two-length advantage in fractions of :23.56 and :48.00. Ny Traffic was at the rail behind him in second, while Mailman Money and Modernist vied for third position. That order remained intact until mid-way through the far turn, when Modernist swung three-wide to make his challenge.
Ny Traffic was trying to get to Wells Bayou, but the frontrunner pulled away by several lengths in the stretch. Ny Traffic was initially getting out badly, but started to make up ground in the final sixteenth and narrowed the winning margin to just a length on the wire. Modernist ran evenly to finish third, and Major Fed checked in fourth.
The full order of finish was as follows: Wells Bayou, Ny Traffic, Modernist, Major Fed, Enforceable, Shake Some Action, Silver State, Chestertown, Royal Act, Social Afleet, Mailman Money, Sharecropper, Lynn's Map, and Portos.
Bred in Kentucky by Knowles Bloodstock, Wells Bayou is out of the Hard Spun mare Whispering Angel. He was a $105,000 purchase at the OBS March sale of 2-year-olds in training, and won at first asking at Keeneland in late October. As a 3-year-old, he won an allowance at Oaklawn before finishing second in the Southwest, and has now added his first graded stakes triumph in the Louisiana Derby.
Overall, the colt's record stands at three wins from five starts for earnings of nearly $850,000.
“The plan was to give him another week,” Cox said. “This spot was more ground which we thought he would enjoy and thought he could establish the lead here. We did some homework on the race to see who was going to be running. You try to put together a game plan and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. In horse racing a lot of time it doesn't. But this time it did. We are really happy with our assistants and everybody involved who do such an incredible job. We have a great team in place, and it showed today. We just have to figure out how to get him to the first Saturday in September and not May. It is uncharted territory and we will do the best we can.”
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