Victor Espinoza will have a chance for an unprecedented three-peat in the Kentucky Derby, after all.
Espinoza’s agent, Brian Beach, said Wednesday that the jockey who won the Derby with California Chrome in 2014 and with eventual Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in 2015 has landed aboard long shot Whitmore. The Derby is May 7.
With regular rider Irad Ortiz Jr. committed to Derby contender My Man Sam, Whitmore trainer Ron Moquett opted for Espinoza. He’s a three-time Derby winner who guided American Pharoah to the first Triple Crown in 37 years by winning the Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Espinoza also won the Derby aboard War Emblem in 2002.
Whitmore finished third in the Arkansas Derby and second in the Rebel Stakes in his last two starts.
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SHELBYVILLE, Ind. — Irap won the $500,000 Indiana Derby by five lengths over Colonelsdarkemper, owned by four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt.
Ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Irap ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.21 on Saturday night at Indiana Grand. He paid $4.80, $3.20 and $2.60 in the Grade 3 race for 3-year-olds. Irap is trained by Southern California-based Doug O’Neill.
Colonelsdarktemper returned $9.60 and $5.80, while Untrapped was another length back in third and paid $2.80 to show.
Foyt is in Toronto for this weekend’s IndyCar race, so he sent grandson A.J. Foyt IV to the track outside Indianapolis.
“He’s always shown a lot of heart and he showed it tonight,” the younger Foyt said about the colt. “He ran a great race.”
The younger Foyt works in the Indianapolis Colts’ front office. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky, where his father Tony trained horses.
“Horse racing holds a special place in my heart, and I’m glad my grandfather still has it going on,” A.J. IV said.
STANTON, Del. — Songbird turned back a determined challenge from Martini Glass through the stretch to win the Grade 1 Delaware Handicap by a length Saturday.
The 1-9 favorite covered 10 furlongs in 2:03.96 to earn her 13th win in 14 career races and raise her career earnings past $4.5 million.
With regular rider Mike Smith aboard, Songbird went right to the front at start of 1 1/4-mile fixture and set moderate fractions but never was able to shake Martini Glass and jockey Jose Ferrer.
After Martini Glass ranged to the outside, Smith was forced to go a stiff left-hand stick through the final furlong.
Line of Best Fit finished third, two lengths behind Martini Glass.
Songbird owner Rick Porter, who’s battling cancer, was among those in attendance at Delaware Park.
Songbird paid $2.10 across the board.