Cupid Holds Off The Player To Win Indiana Derby

Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor captured their second major race of the day in the 22nd running of the G2 Indiana Derby, when Cupid was able to hold off the challenge of The Player to win by three-quarters of a length. (Earlier in the day, the owners teamed up to win the G1 Irish Oaks with Seventh Heaven at the Curragh.) Winning his first race since the Rebel Stakes in Arkansas, Cupid covered 1 1/16 miles over Indiana Grand’s fast main track in 1:43.30. The sophomore son of Tapit was ridden to victory by Rafael Bejarano for trainer Bob Baffert.

Cupid did not break extraordinarily sharply from the 11th post position in the 12-colt field, but Bejarano rushed him up to take the lead. The pair was forced three-wide in the midst of a cavalry charge around the first turn, and longshot Pilot House snuck up the inside rail to take over the front end. Cupid kept up sharp pressure on Pilot House through fractions of :23.44 and :46.75 while never more than a half-length off the lead. It was another length back to Cocked and Loaded three-wide in third position, and Buff Bradley’s The Player hovered out in the center of the track while tracking the pace from fourth.

Rounding the far turn, Cupid took over the lead with Cocked and Loaded trying to go with him. The Player waited a moment longer to make his bid, and wound up head-and-head outside of Cupid as the Baffert trainee got out badly on the turn for home. Forcing The Player nearly six-wide seemed to throw the inexperienced colt off his rhythm, but he gamely rallied again under jockey Shaun Bridgmohan. Cupid had the 1 1/2-length advantage in mid stretch, but was changing leads and running erratically. The Player was able to close the gap on Cupid to three-quarters of a length just as the wire passed overhead. Back in third, Star Hill made up ground from the back of the field, and Whateverybodywants was fourth.

Bred in Kentucky by JKG Thoroughbreds, Cupid was a $ 900,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September Sale. Diagnosed and treated for a breathing problem after a disappointing run in the Arkansas Derby, Cupid then struggled over Belmont’s surface in his next start, finishing fifth in the Easy Goer Stakes. The Indiana Derby is his second graded victory, and third lifetime win from seven starts. Cupid boasts earnings of nearly his purchase price of $ 900,000.

Racing – Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

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