From Derby Disappointments to Redemption: Ohio Derby’s Second Chance

The Grade 3 Ohio Derby: Kentucky Derby Veterans Return

The Grade 3 Ohio Derby is set to take place at JACK Thistledown, shining a spotlight on three Kentucky Derby veterans who are making their first starts since the prestigious race on May 7th. Tawny Port, White Abarrio, and Classic Causeway, with morning line odds of 3/1, 7/2, and 6/1 respectively, are looking to regain their form after lackluster performances in the Kentucky Derby. The field also includes Ethereal Road, who scratched before the Derby but redeemed himself with a victory in the Sir Barton Stakes on the Preakness undercard.

A Chance for Redemption

For these three Derby veterans, the 1 1/8-mile Ohio Derby provides the perfect opportunity to bounce back from their disappointing Derby outings. JACK Thistledown, located in the suburbs of Cleveland, offers a platform for colts to regroup after the Triple Crown and regain their confidence. The Ohio Derby serves as an ideal stepping stone, positioned between the Triple Crown races and the lucrative Del Mar and Saratoga meets, which start in mid-July.

White Abarrio’s Road to Redemption

White Abarrio, a standout in the field as the sole Grade 1 winner, had impressive victories in the Grade 1 Florida Derby and Grade 3 Holy Bull leading up to the Kentucky Derby. However, he finished a disappointing 16th in the Derby, unable to showcase his stalking style that had brought him success at Gulfstream Park. This Ohio Derby presents an opportunity for White Abarrio to prove himself outside of South Florida, having gone undefeated at Gulfstream but winless in his previous outings elsewhere.

Backing Up Lexington Stakes Victory

Tawny Port, following his seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, aims to demonstrate that he can build on his previous success in the Lexington Stakes. While he showed strong late-closing ability in the Derby by making up seven places, he dropped back two spots in the final stretch, ultimately finishing seventh. Trainer Brad Cox, known for his recent success at the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, has enlisted jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. to ride this closer. Tawny Port’s record stands at 3 wins out of 6 starts, and he is eager to showcase his true potential in the Ohio Derby.

Classic Causeway’s McPeek Debut

Classic Causeway, now under the training guidance of Kenny McPeek, is looking to rebound from his lackluster 11th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. Previously trained by Brian Lynch, Classic Causeway had a strong winter campaign, winning both the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis and the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs. However, his last two races have been disappointing, including his last-place finish in the Florida Derby. With Brian Hernandez Jr. as his jockey, Classic Causeway faces the challenge of starting from the outside post in the seven-horse field. Moreover, he is the only horse in the race not running on Lasix, which is permitted in Ohio.

Ethereal Road’s Test Against Tougher Competition

Ethereal Road, coming off a convincing 4 ¾-length victory in the Sir Barton Stakes, seeks to prove himself against stronger competition in the Ohio Derby. Despite a fourth-place finish in the Lexington Stakes and missing the Derby due to a lack of workout form, this colt trained by D. Wayne Lukas has shown potential. The fast pace set by front-runners Classic Causeway and Pineapple Man would play into Ethereal Road’s closing kick. After his recent success, Ethereal Road may be worth considering in exactas and trifectas if he continues to show improvement.

Grade 3 Ohio Derby/JACK Thistledown Field Lineup:

Morning Line (Jockey/Trainer)

– Barese, 9/2 (Kendrick Carmouche/Mike Maker)
– Brigadier General, SCR
– Droppin G’s, 8/1 (Malcolm Franklin/Jerry Antonuik)
– Ethereal Road, 4/1 (Rafael Bejarano/D. Wayne Lukas)
– White Abarrio, 7/2 (Tyler Gaffalione/Saffie Joseph Jr.)
– Pineapple Man, 10/1 (T.D. Houghton/Mike Maker)
– Tawny Port, 3/1 (Irad Ortiz Jr./Brad Cox)
– Classic Causeway, 6/1 (Brian Hernandez Jr./Kenny McPeek)

The Ohio Derby: A Gateway to Redemption

The Grade 3 Ohio Derby serves as an opportunity for these Kentucky Derby veterans to redeem themselves after their disappointing performances in the Triple Crown’s ultimate race. As the pinnacle event at JACK Thistledown, this race commands attention. Its strategic placement in the racing calendar, following the Triple Crown and preceding prestigious meets like Del Mar and Saratoga, makes it an ideal stepping stone for horses looking to regain their form and confidence.


The Grade 3 Ohio Derby presents an exciting and unique opportunity for these Kentucky Derby veterans to showcase their resilience and talent after their less-than-stellar performances in the iconic race. With Tawny Port, White Abarrio, Classic Causeway, and Ethereal Road all seeking redemption, JACK Thistledown will witness a highly competitive race. As racing fans eagerly anticipate the outcome, the Ohio Derby promises thrilling moments and the potential for these colts to reestablish their dominance on the track.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can a horse’s performance in the Ohio Derby impact its future racing career?

Yes, a strong performance in the Ohio Derby can significantly impact a horse’s future racing career. A victory or impressive showing can increase a horse’s reputation, attract attention from prominent trainers and owners, and lead to opportunities in higher-profile races.

2. What is the significance of the Ohio Derby in the racing calendar?

The Ohio Derby holds a vital place in the racing calendar as a stepping stone between the Triple Crown races and the start of lucrative meets like Del Mar and Saratoga. It provides horses with the chance to regroup, regain form, and potentially secure a spot in more prestigious races down the line.

3. How does the Ohio Derby compare to other Grade 3 races?

While Grade 3 races may not have the same level of prestige as Grade 1 events, they still attract top-level competition and offer valuable purses. The Ohio Derby, as a Grade 3 race, provides a platform for colts to prove their abilities and potentially elevate their status in the racing world.

4. Can horses coming off disappointing performances in the Kentucky Derby bounce back in the Ohio Derby?

Absolutely! The Ohio Derby serves as an excellent opportunity for horses who may have had a subpar Kentucky Derby outing to regroup and find success. The change in venue, distance, and competition can often provide a fresh start and renewed confidence for these horses.

5. What makes JACK Thistledown an ideal venue for the Ohio Derby?

JACK Thistledown’s location in the Cleveland suburbs, coupled with its historical significance in Ohio racing, makes it an ideal venue for the Ohio Derby. The track’s rich traditions, dedicated fanbase, and support from the local community ensure a vibrant atmosphere that enhances the overall racing experience.

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Doug I. Jones

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