Drum Roll Please asserted his superiority in the final furlong of the $145,500 Jerome S. at Aqueduct on Saturday, winning the one-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby series test by 3 3/4 lengths under Javier Castellano.
The trailer in a compact field of five through the opening half-mile, Drum Roll Please made a wide rally into contention on the far turn and into the stretch, caught long-time leader El Grande O inside the eighth pole, and cruised home as the 3-5 favorite.
Drum Roll Please finished up in a time of 1:41.91 over a fast track, well off the track record of 1:32.40 set by Hall of Famer Easy Goer in the 1989 Gotham (G2). Drum Roll Please returned $3.20 for owner Gold Square LLC and trainer Brad Cox.
El Grande O, who set a modest though contested pace of :24.50, :49,06, and 1:14.92, turned back in early bid from Khanate and easily held second over that rival by 7 1/2 lengths. Khanate finished third, six lengths clear of Regalo, while Sweet Soddy J was the distant trailer.
This was the second win in five starts for Drum Roll Please, whose previous triumph also occurred over the one-turn mile at Aqueduct in an Oct. 6 maiden. He had preceded that graduation finishing sixth and second in a pair of maiden efforts at Saratoga.
Drum Roll Please entered the Jerome off a third-place effort in the nine-furlong Remsen (G2) in early December. He earned three Kentucky Derby qualifying points in the Remsen, and increased his total to 13 by winning the Jerome. El Grande O earned five Derby points, Khanate three points, Regalo two points, and Sweet Soddy J one point.
“We’ve seen a lot of growth with him physically and mentally in the mornings, so we were expecting something nice from him today, and he showed it,” said Dustin Dugas, assistant to Brad Cox. “We’ve always thought he would go all day, and now with that fitness and that physical development, he can.”
Bred in Pennsylvania by Barlar LLC, Drum Roll Please is by Hard Spun and out of the multiple stakes-winning Imply, by E Dubai. This female family is also responsible for 1994 Horse of the Year and Hall of Fame inductee Holy Bull.