GRADE II, $350,000 LAMBHOLM SOUTH TAMPA BAY DERBY WINNER: DESTIN (STAKES AND TRACK RECORD, 1:42.82)
Winning and runner-up trainer Todd Pletcher (via telephone from Gulfstream): “I was very, very pleased with (Destin’s) performance. He seems to be getting more and more professional and is learning how to finish his races. I felt he would improve with more experience and that is proving to be true. After his first two races, he was still piecing things together, but he has gotten better with experience. We will assess him but probably would not come back in the Florida Derby, which leaves the Wood Memorial, Blue Grass or Arkansas Derby as possibilities.
“For Outwork to put forth that type of performance in only his third start is quite impressive. We were hoping he would move forward, and he certainly ran well enough to put himself in the next round of preps, where hopefully he will move forward again.”
Winning jockey Javier Castellano: “It was a beautiful trip, he broke sharp out of the gate and put me in good position behind the top two horses. I thought there would be a little more speed, but the way he set out was beautiful. I asked him turning for home and he responded so well. He finished good and the way he galloped out was phenomenal, especially after the (track-record time). The way he’s been doing, he could be a (Kentucky Derby) horse. He could be destined to win it—who knows?”
Winning owner Randy Gullatt of Twin Creeks Racing Stables: “”He has come a long ways (since winning the Grade III Sam F. Davis) and I think he is ahead of even where we thought he would be. He’s making big jumps, and we’re very happy. Obviously, this race gives you the option of (another prep) because of the timing. He ran super last time, but I think he was even more into the bit today and just took Javier right where he wanted. I’m elated. I think he ran even better than I was hoping he would.”
Runner-up jockey John Velazquez on Outwork: “It was a great performance for a horse that had only two starts and had only been six furlongs. He was trying his best and I couldn’t ask for more than he did. The distance was not a problem.”