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Hero of Order shocks at 109-1 in Louisiana Derby

  • Hero of Order (yellow cap) and Mark Valeski (Lou Hodges Jr./Hodges Photography)

Raut LLC's Hero Order was sent off the extreme 109-1 longest shot on the board in Sunday's Grade 2 Louisiana Derby but ran like a favorite when gutting out a half-length victory over Mark Valeski to post shocking returns of $220.80, $79.20 and $25.40 to his faithful, but, few backers.

Eddie Martin Jr. settled Hero Order just to the outside of pacesetter Comisky's Humor through splits of :23 1/5 and :47 1/5, but the colt moved up to grab command through six furlongs in 1:11 2/5 as the leader began fading. Sticking his head in front, Hero of Order took off for home while 3-2 favorite Mark Valeski swung four wide around the final turn to begin his run.

Hero of Order was tenacious in the lane, digging in to just hold Mark Valeski on the wire. The winner ran nine furlongs on Fair Grounds' fast main track in 1:50.

"Well, (the trainer) told me just to ride him and it worked," Martin said. "I was surprised I didn't get pressured more than I did. You know, I had my target in front of me and he just let me inherit the lead around the turn and off we went."

According to a tweet from Marcus Hersh, trainer Larry Jones discovered that Mark Valeski had blown a shoe during the race. The colt was reportedly lame when leaving the track.

"We got a good trip. We laid up, we came around Cigar Street when we got ready, and it looked like we got into the race easy enough. We've been running against (Hero Of Order) all meet with something, I guess it was his turn," Jones said before the shoe loss was discovered.

"I don't know if it will get us enough graded earnings (to get in the Kentucky Derby). If we didn't make it, then it tells us we don't belong."

Rousing Sermon got up on the outside in the final strides to nose out Cigar Street for third.

"He had a good effort," trainer Jerry Hollendorfer spoke by phone of Rousing Sermon's third-place effort. "We were back far enough, and we had to go wide.

"It probably gives us enough earnings (for the Kentucky Derby) but I'll have to confer with the owners. Distance is no problem for this horse. That's the difficult part for me. I know this is a good horse but do we want to push on or maybe find a spot to win a race and then look at a race like the Belmont? I think he wants as much ground as they run horses on."

Shared Property followed in fifth while Windsurfer, Afford, Z Dager, Fire Alarm, Finnegans Wake, Flashy Sunrise, Mr. Bowling and Comisky's Humor completed the order of finish.

Hero of Order was making his 14th career start in this spot and now boasts a 2-1-2 scorecard from those races. The Sharp Humor colt's earnings skyrocketed to $657,277 with the winner's share of the $1 million purse. Bred in Kentucky by Wind Hill Farm, he was a bargain basement $3,000 yearling when sold at Keeneland September two years ago.

"You see, I brought not expensive horses but I make these horses expensive," quipped former Russian jockey and winning owner/trainer Gennadi Dorochenko. "We run horses together, Eddie and me. I told him exactly what he wants to do, he do and he wins. Eddie is best jockey. We are around horses together, I give him chance. A lot of jockeys have ridden (Hero of Order) and everything but (Eddie) do exactly what I tell him, he wins."

The dark bay took nine attempts to break his maiden, finally getting the job done by five lengths in his sophomore bow on January 7 over the New Orleans oval. Following that Hero of Order proceeded to run fifth in the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes, fourth after setting the early pace in the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes and, most recently, second in the grassy Black Gold Stakes. He was placed fourth via disqualification in that latter event.

Hero of Order is the first stakes winner out of the Ocean Crest mare Ocean Sprite, who is a half-sister to Grade 1 heroine Things Change and dual stakes victress Dinner Break. His third dam is Grade 1-placed multiple stakes queen Country Romance, who is most noted for producing Grade 1-winning sire Harlan. Others in this line include multiple Grade 2 star Pomeroys Pistol and multiple Grade 2-placed stakes winner Swearingen.

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