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Cox-trained Owendale edges Math Wizard in Ohio Derby

Thistledown’s Ohio Derby recap:

June 22, 2019 (NORTH RANDALL, Ohio) – The saying “pace makes the race” proved golden Saturday as Owendale drove by faltering speed to take the $500,000 Ohio Derby (G3) at JACK Thistledown Racino by a half-length over Math Wizard, who also made a late move. It was another 9 1/4 lengths back to Long Range Toddy in third. Trained by Brad Cox, the Churchill Downs-based Owendale finished the 1 1/8 mile-race in 1:50.88.

Owendale was third in the Preakness in his prior start, which he came into off victory in Keeneland’s Grade 3 Stonestreet Lexington. He also is part of a bumper crop of horses who ran last summer as 2-year-olds at Ellis Park.

“It worked out good,” said winning jockey Florent Geroux. “There was a lot of pace to run at today and I just sat back like he likes to do. I was able to squeeze by from the inside and get some room and he got the job done. He’s a horse who likes to sit back and make one run.”

That pace was quick indeed for the distance. Dare Day rocketed out of the gate as expected and set the first quarter in :22.66, the half in :47.62 and three-quarters in 1:12.80. Bethlehem Road went with him, as did Going for Gold. The three began to back up about the 3/8ths pole and the second act of the drama began as Owendale, Math Wizard and Long Range Toddy each made his move.

Edgard Zayas was aboard runner-up Math Wizard. “He did a great run and he had a beautiful trip,” Zayas said. “At the 3/8ths pole I was able to make some room for myself. He kicked on in the stretch. It was a great race from him. The other horse was the best horse in the race.”

Long Range Toddy had a similar trip under Jon Court. “I just wanted to sit right off that speed, let them do what they’re supposed to do and overtake them, which I was able to do, but I wasn’t able to open up eight lengths on them. He was just third best today,” Court said.

Bethlehem Road finished fourth as the best of the speed, with Dare Day and Going for Gold rounding out the field. Global Campaign was an early scratch.

Owendale was sent off the 3-5 favorite and returned $3.40, $2.20 and $2.10.

Bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holding, Owendale is by Into Mischief out of the Bernardini mare Aspen Light. The Ohio Derby win, his second graded score, improved his record to four wins, one second and two thirds from 10 starts and earnings of $668,725 for owner Rupp Racing.

Jennie Rees is a communications and advocacy specialist in the horse industry who spent 32 years covering horse racing for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal before taking a corporate buyout. In addition to handling communications for the Kentucky HBPA, Rees is Kentucky Downs’ publicity director, manages in-season racing publicity for Ellis Park and serves as a consultant to the National HBPA. Other projects include the Preakness Stakes, Indiana Grand’s Indiana Derby Week and work for various HBPA affiliates and horsemen’s associations.