Mr. Money wins the West Virginia Derby
Allied Racing Stable’s Mr. Money had to deal with a loose horse when winning the G3 Indiana Derby last out, but he had no such challenges in Saturday’s G3 West Virginia Derby. Looking loaded for bear the whole way around the course, the 3-year-old son of Goldencents made short work of the field to win by open lengths as the 1-2 favorite. Ridden by Gabriel Saez for trainer Bret Calhoun, Mr. Money ran nine furlongs over Mountaineer’s fast main track in 1:50.28.
“Hopefully there are bigger and better things for us,” said Chester Thomas, the principal of Allied Racing.
Plus Que Parfait, winner of the UAE Derby, was quick into stride and took the lead through mild fractions of :24.42 and :49.10. Saez had a strong hold and was confidently riding Mr. Money just to his outside in second, and took the lead around the far turn.
Straightening toward the wire all alone, the colt extended his stride when asked and easily cruised under the wire a winner by about seven lengths. Chess Chief ran well at 35-1 to score second over Plus Que Parfait, and Top Line Growth got up for fourth.
“(Trainer Bret Calhoun) has done a tremendous job with him, and my job was to find the winner’s circle,” Saez said. “On the final turn I asked him to get it done, and here we are. Good horses make you look good.”
“He’s a very good horse, and Chester has allowed me to manage him in a good way to keep his confidence level up,” said Calhoun, who a race earlier won the $200,000, Grade III West Virginia Governor’s Cup with Silver Dust.
Thomas, a western Kentucky coal executive with a keen interest in the Thoroughbred business, credited Calhoun and Saez with Mr. Money’s recent success.
“Bret has done a great job, and from what I could see Gabe did a wonderful job getting him to relax (through slow fractions),” Thomas said. “I knew he was sitting on a lot of horse when he let him loose. What we saw on paper became reality.”
Bred in Kentucky by Spruce Lane Farm, Mr. Money was a $130,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September sale. He required three starts to break his maiden and ran fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in his subsequent start, but finished off the board in two Fair Grounds-based Derby prep races to miss the Run for the Roses field. He ran on the undercard in the G3 Pat Day Mile, winning by 5 1/4 lengths, and has now compiled four consecutive wins in G3 company. Overall, Mr. Money has won five of his 10 starts for earnings over $1 million.
Thomas, when asked if the $1 million, Grade I Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing Sept. 21 is in the cards for Mr. Money, looked at Calhoun and asked him the question.
“It’s a good possibility,” the trainer said. “That’s definitely where we are hoping to be.”
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