Weyburn entered Saturday’s $300,000 Gotham S. (G3) flying very much under the radar, but the Jimmy Jerkens-trained colt proceeded to produce a shocking photo-finish victory in the one-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby prep at Aqueduct after edging second-time starter Crowded Trade after a thrilling stretch duel.
Making his first start since Dec. 5, when he broke his maiden in his third lifetime start, Weyburn broke well from post 8 and was soon tracking only a half-length behind pacesetter and second choice Freedom Fighter. The fractions were :24.29, :48.03, and 1:12.85.
Applying more pressure on Freedom Fighter approaching the quarter pole, Weyburn took over briefly entering the stretch and then was soon accosted by third choice Crowded Trade. That rival poked his head in front with a furlong to go, but Weyburn fought back along the inside and narrowly prevailed by a nose under Trevor McCarthy.
“He switched leads in that last eighth and that made him resurge,” McCarthy said. “He was really aggressive and he had a lot of fight in him.”
A homebred racing for Chiefswood Stables, Weyburn covered the course in 1:38.70 over a fast track and paid $95.50. Crowded Trade finished 1 3/4 lengths ahead of odds-on favorite and fellow Chad Brown stablemate Highly Motivated, who endured a difficult opening quarter-mile, with Freedom Fighter three lengths farther back in fourth. The order of finish was rounded out by The Reds, Capo Kane, Wipe the Slate, and Atlantic Road.
Winning the Gotham was worth 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points for Weyburn, though the colt isn’t yet in possession of them as he is currently not Triple Crown nominated. Crowded Trade earned 20 points, Highly Motivated 10 points, and Freedom Fighter scored five points.
Fifth in his debut at Belmont Park last October, Weyburn added blinkers for his second start, at Aqueduct, and ran an improved race in finishing second. His third start came in the slop, and the dark bay prevailed by 1 1/2 lengths as a heavy favorite. Weyburn has now earned $227,520.
“This is just really satisfying because it’s been a tough winter and we loved him from day one,” Jerkens said. “He didn’t run first out and we didn’t know what to think. Thank God we stuck to our guns. I think he’ll end up being a decent colt.”
An Ontario-bred, Weyburn is by Pioneerof the Nile and out of Sunday Affair, by A.P. Indy. He’s a half-brother to two-time Bold Venture (G3) winner Yorkton.
This female family has produced numerous champions and Grade 1 performers, including Gold Beauty, Sky Beauty, Dayjur, Point of Entry, Pine Island, Guarana, Violence, Pleasant Home, and Tale of Ekati.