Todd A. Pletcher Racing Stables, Inc.

Destin Sets Track Record in Tampa Bay Derby

Destin Sets Track Record in Tampa Bay DerbyTwin Creeks Racing Stables' Destindelivered a second straight stakes win atTampa Bay Downs March 12, this time setting a track record in landing the track's top classic prep race: the $350,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby Stakes (gr. II). Watch Video

Trainer Todd Pletcher's horses secured the top two spots as Destin edged past game stablemate Outwork in the stretch of the 1 1/16-mile race, earning 50 points and 20 points respectively on the Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifying points list.

"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," said winning rider Javier Castellano after Destin completed the 1 1/16-mile test in 1:42.82 on a fast track. "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 (gr. I Kentucky Derby) horse. He could be destined to win it—who knows?"

The race did not go as well for grade I winner Brody's Cause, who was bumped at the start and trailed in the field of nine early, made a bit of a rally in the turn, but finished seventh in his 3-year-old season debut.

The top two finishers entered Saturday's race off wins on the same Tampa Bay Downs card. Destin, a son of Giant's Causeway  , earned a clear victory in the Feb. 13 Sam F. Davis Stakes (gr. III) and Outwork cruised to a 4 1/4-length score in an allowance/optional claiming race that day.

On Saturday Outwork led early under Racing Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez through a half-mile in :47.88 and six furlongs in 1:11.43 while tracked by grade III winner Riker and Destin. Just after the leader completed six furlongs, rider Javier Castellano asked Destin for more.

The two stablemates dueled in early stretch, with Outwork racking inside. Destin battled his way into the lead in midstretch and registered a one-length victory in 1:42.82 on a fast track. Star Hillfinished third to earn his first stakes placing, and Rafting followed in fourth.

"I was very, very pleased with (Destin's) performance," said Pletcher, who watched the outcome from Gulfstream Park. "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."

Pletcher also was pleased with the first stakes start for Repole Stable's Outwork, a son of 2015 leading freshman sire Uncle Mo  .

"For Outwork to put forth that type of performance in only his third start is quite impressive," Pletcher said. "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."

Randy Gullatt of Twin Creeks Racing Stable said Destin also is improving.

"He has come a long ways (since winning the Sam F. Davis) and I think he is ahead of even where we thought he would be," Gullatt remarked. "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."

Destin returned $9.20, $4.80, and $3.60 across the board while Outwork returned $5.20 to place and $4.20 to show. Star Hill returned $6.80 to show.

Bred in Kentucky by James C. Weigel & Taylor Made Stallions out of grade I winner Dream of Summer, by Siberian Summer, Destin is a full brother to classic-placed Grade I winner Creative Cause  . Twin Creeks landed the colt for $400,000 at the 2014 Keeneland September yearling sale, where he was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency.

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