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Tawny Port Wins Grade 3, $500,000 USD Ohio Derby

James Murphy
by in Horses on
  • Tawny Port won Saturday’s Grade 3, $500,000 USD Ohio Derby at Thistledown.
  • The top three finishers were all runners in the Kentucky Derby–Tawny Port, second place White Abarrio and third place Classic Causeway.
  • A field of eight was entered in the Ohio Derby. Brigadier General was a pre-race scratch as his connections are pointing him toward the Grade 3 Indiana Derby on July 9 at Horseshoe Indianapolis.

The field of Saturday’s Grade 3, $500,000 USD Ohio Derby at Thistledown probably can’t be characterized as ‘star studded’ though it was definitely ‘intriguing’. Ultimately, the three top finishers in the race were Kentucky Derby runners making their first start since May 7. Tawny Port–trained by Brad Cox–won the race by a length over White Abarrio with Classic Causeway finishing third. A field of eight were entered for the race, though Brigadier General was a late scratch. His connections have opted to point him toward the July 9 Indiana Derby at Horseshoe Indianapolis.

Tawny Port was a 3-1 morning line favorite though went off at 6-5. He was making his sixth start of the season, having taken the (now) atypical route of a fairly busy workload in advance of the Kentucky Derby. He finished fifth in the Grade 2 Risen Star at Fairgrounds on February 19 but rebounded to take second in the March 2 Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park behind Tis the Bomb and ahead of eventual Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike. He returned just two weeks later for the Grade 3 Lexington at Keeneland, taking the victory over Major General and In Due Time. Tawny Port finished 7th in the Kentucky Derby, though he recovered from a bad start that had him in 14th place at the three-quarters pole.

White Abbario, trained by Saffie Joseph, Jr. is still looking for his first career win away from Gulfstream Park. He went into the Kentucky Derby in good form, victorious in the Grade 3 Holy Bull and the Grade 1 Florida Derby. He struggled to finish 16th in the Kentucky Derby. Although he’s yet to win outside of the state of Florida he’s turned in solid efforts on the road with a third place finish in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs as a two year old as well as today’s result.

Third place finisher Classic Causeway has gone from a very promising rising three year old to a big question mark, which makes the 3rd place Ohio Derby finish something of a hopeful sign. Classic Causeway began the year with wins in the G3 Sam F. Davis and G2 Tampa Bay Derby, both at Tampa Bay Downs. He regressed badly from that point, finishing 11th in an 11 horse field in the G1 Florida Derby followed by an identical finish in the Kentucky Derby. Classic Causeway finished 1 1/4 lengths behind the second place runner and five lengths ahead of Barese who was followed by Droppin G’s, Ethereal Road and Pineapple Man.

Tawny Port paid 4.60 to win, 2.40 to place and 2.20 to show. White Abarrio paid 2.60 and 2.20 with Classic Causeway returning 2.80. The 7-5 $1.00 Exacta paid $4.30, the 7-5-8 $1.00 Trifecta paid $14.50 with the .10 cent 7-5-8-1 Superfecta paying $5.3

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