A.J. Foyt Jr.’s Colonelsdarktemper broke running in Saturday’s $750,000 West Virginia Derby (G3) and never looked back, registering his first stakes victory in the Mountaineer feature. Trained by Jinx Fires and ridden by Jon Court, the 3-year-old Colonel John colt scored by a length as the 7-1 fifth choice among 10 runners.
Colonelsdarktemper reeled off moderate splits in :23.78, :47.85 and 1:13.05 on a short lead, with 4-1 second choice Game Over and 97-1 outsider Heartwood up close stalking the pacesetter. Court asked for run leaving the far turn and Colonelsdarktemper accelerated to a three-length advantage with a furlong remaining.
Game Over tried to draw even in deep stretch, reducing the margin while never seriously challenging the winner, and wound up 3 ¼ lengths clear of third-placer Lookin at Lee. Off as the 9-2 third choice, the Kentucky Derby runner-up rallied belatedly from last, finishing a neck better than 2-1 favorite Patch, who failed to offer much of a late punch in fourth.
Silver Dust came next in fifth and was followed under the wire by Phat Man, McCormick, B Squared, Impressive Edge and Heartwood.
Colonelsdarktemper completed the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:50.68.
A $35,000 weanling purchase at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October sale, Colonelsdarktemper broke his maiden when making his career debut at Oaklawn Park in mid-February. He dropped his next three outings, including a pair of stakes attempts, before winning an entry-level allowance at Churchill Downs in late May.
The dark bay was exiting a pair of non-threatening seconds to accomplished rivals, finishing behind McCraken in the Matt Winn (G3) at Churchill and Irap in the July 15 Indiana Derby.
With the $446,250 payday, Colonelsdarktemper has earned $653,050 from an 8-3-2-1 ledger. He was bred in Kentucky by Hargus and Sandra Sexton and SilverFern Farm and is the first stakes winner from the Stormy Atlantic mare Sweet Temper, a daughter of the Grade 1-winning Nureyev mare Pattern Step.