The formerly maligned Kentucky Jockey Club (G2), held last November at Churchill Downs, has turned out to be key race after all. One week after Promises Fulfilled upset the Fountain of Youth (G2) exiting Churchill Downs’ fall feature for juveniles, it was Quip‘s turn to spring the upset in Saturday’s $355,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G2).
Under Florent Geroux, Quip was away well from post 8 in the 1 1/16-mile race and hounded 8-5 favorite World of Trouble, rating a half-length behind in second through splits of :24.54, :49.48, and 1:13.78. In the stretch Quip narrowed the gap to a head with a furlong to go and then edged away to win by a length. The final time over a fast track was 1:44.72, the slowest edition of the race since 1999 when Pineaff won in 1:45.33.
Owned by WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, and SF Racing, Quip paid $40.20. He’s trained by Rodolphe Brisset, a former assistant to Hall of Famer Bill Mott.
Rallying for second was Flameaway, the Sam F. Davis (G3) winner, who finished a neck in front of World of Trouble. Second choice Vino Rosso finished fourth and was followed by Tiz Mischief, Untamed Domain, Caloric, Arazi Like Move, and Grandpa Knows Best.
As part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series, the top four finishers earned Kentucky Derby qualifying points of 50-20-10-5, respectively. Quip essentially clinched a position in the Derby starting gate with the win, while Flameaway now has 30 points but is not officially in the Derby Top 20 as he’s not yet been made a Triple Crown nominee.
The first two across the wire in the Kentucky Jockey Club were Enticed and Tiz Mischief, both of whom finished far back in the Holy Bull (G2) in early February. However, the form of the race has since been franked by the likes of the aforementioned Promises Fulfilled, Bravazo, who captured the Risen Star (G2) last month, and now Quip, who finished seventh in the Kentucky Jockey Club after being steadied around the far turn. Enticed himself bounced back to capture the Gotham (G3) at Aqueduct on Saturday.
“I’ve always thought a lot of him,” Geroux said. “The way the Jockey Club unfolded, he was between horses most of the time and he didn’t really respond when I called him. But I’ve always known he had talent. Rodolphe rides him in the morning, and he said he was doing fantastic. It seemed like he handled the track very well. Both horses (Quip and pace-setter World of Trouble, who finished third) were doing great, and I’m glad to know Quip was best today.”
Prior to his effort in the Kentucky Jockey Club, Quip had won both prior starts: a six-furlong maiden at Churchill Downs by a head and a 1 1/16-mile allowance at Keeneland by 6 1/2 lengths. His earnings are now $282,800.
Bred in Kentucky by WinStar, Quip is by Distorted Humor and out the Indian Charlie mare Princess Ash, a half-sister to the Grade 1-placed Normandy Invasion.