April 18, 2024

None Above the Law rides rail in Del Mar Derby

Downstream Racing's None Above The Law and jockey Joe Bravo win the Del Mar Derby (Benoit Photo)

J. Kirk and Judy Robison bred both winners of Saturday’s Grade 2 turf features at Del Mar. None Above the Law sprang a 10.50-1 upset of the $254,000 Del Mar Derby (G2) in the colors of the Robisons’ Downstream Racing, and in the $201,000 John C. Mabee (G2), favored Going to Vegas scored for owners Abbondanza Racing, Medallion Racing, and My Racehorse.

Del Mar Derby (G2)

A California homebred for the Robisons, None Above the Law just stunned odds-on The Chosen Vron in the July 30 Real Good Deal S. going seven furlongs on Del Mar’s main track. The Peter Miller pupil had prior turf form, as the winner of the May 23 Alcatraz S. at Golden Gate and a near-miss second in the June 19 Snow Chief S. at Santa Anita. But None Above the Law was unplaced in his only two attempts on this turf course, winding up seventh in last year’s Del Mar Juvenile Turf and ninth in the July 16 Oceanside S.

A masterful, rail-skimming ride by Joe Bravo made the difference in the Del Mar Derby. Reserved in the third flight early, None Above the Law was drafting behind 9-5 favorite Hudson Ridge, who was tracking pacesetter Hockey Dad.

A contested pace unfolded. Hockey Dad got away from Jimmy Blue Jeans through an opening quarter in :23.80, then was hounded by Crew Dragon in splits of :48.00 and 1:12.87. As Hudson Ridge shifted out to probe for a seam on the far turn, Bravo remained committed to the inside path with None Above the Law.

Meanwhile, Oceanside hero Flashiest circled with intent and posed a new threat to Hockey Dad, who was bravely running the gauntlet up front. But Hockey Dad left room for None Above the Law to rally up the fence, and the gray took full advantage.

Picking up best of all in the final furlong, None Above the Law drove three-quarters of a length ahead and finished 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.97. His loyalists received a $23 win payout.

Flashiest, overlooked at 12.90-1 after trailing in the Saratoga Derby (G1) last out, headed Hockey Dad for second. Cathkin Peak had a checkered passage but reported home another half-length back in fourth. Lincoln Hawk was a creditable fifth after getting slammed at the start, a neck up on the troubled Zoffarelli. Next came Sword Zorro, Barraza, Hudson Ridge, No Foolery Here, Petruchio, Crew Dragon, and Jimmy Blue Jeans. Optimistic Valor was withdrawn.

None Above the Law’s scorecard stands at 14-6-2-1, $454,060. The versatile gelding is a triple-surface threat, with a stakes score on the Golden Gate Tapeta in the Apr. 24 Silky Sullivan to go along with his aforementioned tallies on turf and dirt. His distance range broadens his options as well.

“I know he went from a mile on turf (in the Oceanside) to seven-furlongs on the dirt (in the Real Good Deal) to a mile and an eighth on the turf to win this,” Miller told Del Mar publicity.

“You won’t find that in any training manual; that’s not the way you do it. But this horse just does everything well. He’s just an overachiever, and I just love this horse. The Robisons are longtime clients, and what a ride by Joe Bravo.”

“Peter told me this horse can do anything,” Bravo said. “He wins running seven-eighths on the dirt; he wins going a mile and one-eighth on the grass. We just saved all we could and I showed him daylight turning for home. He really got up under me. I’m having fun riding out here. Riding for good horsemen and riding good horses in Southern California. What more could a guy want?”

By French star and 2014 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) champion Karakontie, None Above the Law was produced by the stakes-winning Northern Afleet mare Legally Blanca.

John C. Mabee (G2)

Going to Vegas stalked and pounced her way to a 2 1/4-length decision as the 1.90-1 Mabee favorite. The manner was reminiscent of her opening-day allowance score over the same nine-furlong trip, only this time with leading rider Flavien Prat aboard.

Perched in second as Nasty rattled off fractions of :24.20, :47.80, and 1:12.41, the Richard Baltas trainee took closer order turning for home and imposed her authority. Going to Vegas clocked 1:48.14 to improve her resume to 21-6-8-2, $454,151.

Dogtag continued her bout of seconditis, 1 1/4 lengths clear of Bodhicitta in third. Multiple Brazilian Group 1 heroine Fast Jet Court rallied for a useful fourth in her U.S. debut, followed by Maxim Rate, Nasty, and Tapwater. Quiet Secretary, who would have contributed to the pace scenario, and She’s Our Charm were scratched.

“I had a good post and a good break,” Prat recapped of his 11th stakes win of the meet. “I got right where I wanted to be and we weren’t going that fast. When I asked her, she had a really good turn of foot. She was a winner all the way today.” 

“She was where she wants from the start,” Baltas said. “She’ll rate now. She used to not rate. I’m very proud of the horse coming back fairly quickly from the (allowance win) at the start of the meet to win a mile and an eighth graded stakes.”

Going to Vegas placed in a trio of graded events in the fall of her 2020 sophomore campaign – the Autumn Miss (G3), Red Carpet H. (G3), and finally the American Oaks (G1) – before notching her first stakes victory in the Mar. 27 Santa Ana (G3).

Baltas indicated that the Oct. 2 Rodeo Drive (G1), like the Santa Ana a 1 1/4-mile test at Santa Anita, would be next. Plans could get more ambitious if she takes that “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).

Bred by the Robisons in Kentucky, Going to Vegas is a daughter of Goldencents and the multiple stakes-winning Johannesburg mare Hard to Resist.