Owner Brad Grady and trainer Joe Sharp this week entered a rabbit to help aid their stable star Girvin’s chances in Saturday’s $1 million TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds. That rabbit, Hotfoot, set a pace that wasn’t particularly fast, but it was good enough for Girvin, who solidified his status as the best Louisiana-based three-year-old with a 1 1/4-length victory in the 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Derby (G1) prep.
Rating in mid-pack some six lengths behind Hotfoot, who got early splits of :23.46 and :47, Girvin began to make headway around the far turn, not long after Local Hero, who many expected would duel with Hotfoot, had taken a two-length into the stretch.
“Today my biggest thing was when I saw Local Hero settle as well as he did, I wanted to stay behind (him) and give myself a target,” Hernandez said
In the lane, Girvin wore down Local Hero by the eighth pole and then drew off to win by 1 1/4 lengths in a time of 1:49.77 over a fast track under Brian Hernandez Jr. Hero of last month’s Risen Star (G2), Girvin paid $4.60 as the 13-10 favorite.
Patch, the 4-1 second choice, rallied up the inside to take second by 1 3/4 lengths over Local Hero, who nosed out Hollywood Handsome for third. Sorry Erik, Senior Investment, Guest Suite, Hotfoot, and Monaco rounded out the order of finish.
As part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series, Girvin earned 100 qualifying points toward Derby eligibility. He now has 150 points in total. Patch earned 40 for his stakes debut, Local Hero earned 20, and Hollywood Handsome 10.
Hernandez now has two legitimate Kentucky Derby contenders. He also rides the undefeated McCraken, who is scheduled to make his final Derby prep in next Saturday’s Blue Grass (G1) at Keeneland.
Girvin has now won three of four starts, all of them occurring at the winter/spring meet in New Orleans. A debut winner by a head going six furlongs on December 16, Girvin suffered his only defeat to date with a fast-closing second in the $50,000 Keith Gee Memorial on the turf in early February. That set him up well for the Risen Star, which he rallied to win by two lengths as an 8-1 chance.
A $130,000 Fasig-Tipton October yearling buy, Girvin is by Tale of Ekati and out of the Malibu Moon mare Catch the Moon, who also reared Grade 3 winner Cocked and Loaded. This is the family of Grade 1 winners Yes It’s True and Silver Max, and Canadian champion Kiss a Native.