September 22, 2023

Two Phil’s installed as 8-5 choice over seven rivals in Ohio Derby

Two Phil's wins the Jeff Ruby Steaks
Two Phil's romps in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (Photo by Coady Photography/Turfway Park)

A three-time stakes winner, Two Phil’s exits a hard-hitting performance in the Kentucky Derby (G1), prompting a wicked early pace before seizing the lead on the far turn. He gave way grudgingly to Mage in deep stretch, finishing a length back while determinedly outfinishing Angel of Empire for second, and earned a seven-week vacation in the aftermath.

Two Phil’s returns against seven rivals in Saturday’s $500,000 Ohio Derby (G3) at Thistledown, and he will take some beating after registering 102 and 107 Brisnet Speed ratings in his last starts. The Larry Rivelli-trained colt has been pegged as the 8-5 morning line favorite in the 1 1/8-mile race, and the chestnut son of Hard Spun will break from post 4 with regular rider Jareth Loveberry.

Bishops Bay exits his first setback, but he’ll receive some mutuel support after finishing a head second to subsequent Belmont (G1) winner Arcangelo in the May 13 Peter Pan (G2) at Belmont Park. Trained by Brad Cox, the Uncle Mo colt opened his racing career with a pair of wins at Fair Grounds, breaking his maiden in mid-February and winning a two-turn allowance a month later, and Bishops Bay will be forwardly placed with Florent Geroux. He’s listed as the 3-1 second choice.

Wood Memorial (G2) upsetter Lord Miles comes next at 7-2. Forced to scratch from the Kentucky Derby, the chestnut son of Curlin will return from a 77-day layoff, gamely outfinishing favored Hit Show to prevail by a nose at 59-1 in the Wood when last seen. Edgard Zayas will be up for Saffie Joseph.

Henry Q, a romping winner of the Mine That Bird Derby earlier this season, is intriguing in his second start for Doug O’Neill. Pegged at 5-1, the Blame colt returned from a seven-week freshening to finish third in the Peter Pan last out, and Henry Q figures to show speed from his inside post with Kendrick Carmouche.

Multiple graded-placed as a juvenile, Hayes Strike has recorded wins in the Texas Derby and Private Terms S. in his last three starts, and he will try to make an impact at the graded level. Christian Torres guides the late runner for Kenny McPeek.

Last Cookie will jump to graded stakes competition off a runner-up effort in the June 5 allowance at Thistledown. A pair of locally-based longshots, Agnello’s Dream and Timesatappin, are also entered.