Owendale bounced back from a poor showing in his stakes debut, in the Risen Star (G2) two months ago, to emphatically capture Saturday’s $200,000 Lexington (G3) at Keeneland, defeating favorite Anothertwistafate and second choice Sueno, both of whom were looking to secure enough points to make the Kentucky Derby (G1) field.
Settled near the back of the field with Florent Geroux in the irons for the first time, Owendale made a bold, four-wide bid into contention around the far turn, caught Knicks Go in upper stretch and motored home to a 1 3/4-length win in a time of 1:44.14 for 1 1/16 miles over a fast track. Owned by Rupp Racing and trained by Brad Cox, Owendale paid $27.40.
Anothertwistafate, the 7-5 favorite, and Sueno finished second and third, respectively, after Knicks Go bothered them both shortly after leaving the gate. A margin of 1 1/4 lengths separated the two.
“I wish I had a better trip,” said Javier Castellano, who was aboard Anothertwistafate. “I was in tight all the way, and the two horses in front stopped early. But I kept coming and saved ground. The winner got the jump and in the meantime I was bottled up inside on the rail looking for room, and I didn’t have any room.”
Anothertwistafate earned eight points Kentucky Derby qualifying points, bringing his total to 38. That was around the cutoff line prior to the running of the last qualifying prep, the Arkansas Derby (G1), later Saturday. The four points earned by Sueno likely left him far short of qualifying without numerous defections over the next three weeks.
Graduating at Indiana Grand in his third start last September, Owendale ran fourth and second in his next two starts before passing his first allowance condition by 1 1/2 lengths at Fair Grounds in mid-January. In the February 16 Risen Star, Owendale fell farther off the pace than he had in the several starts leading ip to the race and offered no rally when finishing eighth.
“Last race, we felt like he ate too much dirt, and he kind of backed out down the backside and then had too much to do,” assistant trainer Ricky Giannini said. “Today, he ate the same amount of dirt. I think he’s just maturing and turning into a good horse. He’s always trained like it and today he put it all together and got the job done.”
Bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet and a $200,000 Keeneland September yearling, Owendale was produced by Aspen Light, a Bernardini half-sister to Breeders’ Futurity (G1) winner Great Hunter. Also hailing from this family is 2015 champion three-year-old filly Stellar Wind.
Owendale’s record now stands at 8-3-1-1, $187,225.