Savings swept to an authoritative victory in the Derby Trial Stakes today, but the race won't have any impact on the Derby itself.
None of the 13 3-year-olds in the field at Churchill Downs was considered a serious Derby candidate. Today, the Trial's main attraction was its $50,000 purse and soft competition.
Savings wasn't even nominated to next Saturday's Derby; trainer Gary Hartlage didn't make the necessary payment after Savings lost his first stakes race by 17 lengths at Oaklawn Park last month. But today the colt gave the kind of performance that plenty of trainers would love to have for their Derby candidates.
Savings sat in fourth place while a speedster named Trobio set a swift pace of 45 1/5 seconds for the first half of the mile race. "I said, 'Catch me if you can,' jockey Mike McDowell said. "They're a common bunch of 3-year-olds and maybe I'll get a ticket to the Derby."
Savings cancelled McDowell's ticket. On the turn jockey Pat Johnson asked him to move and he surged past the leader. He drew away to a 6 1/2-length victory in 1:35 3/5. Trobio held second by a nose over Sumptious.