Quip wore down pacesetter World of Trouble in deep stretch and recorded a 19-1 upset in Saturday’s $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G2), making his first appearance of 2018 a winning one in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series qualifier. Florent Geroux was up for trainer Rudolphe Brisset.
Unraced since a seventh in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs in late November, Quip likely ensured himself a Kentucky Derby bid by virtue of the 50-point first-place prize. He’s campaigned by WinStar Farm & China Horse Club International, who also have Audible and Justify as individual interests in Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager this weekend.
World of Trouble broke poorly but sprinted to the lead entering the first turn and Quip advanced from his outside post to closely track the front-runner in second, about a half-length back through splits in :24.54, :49.48 and 1:13.78. Quip reached even terms in upper stretch and gained the upper hand in the final sixteenth of mile, edging away late to a one-length decision as Flameaway came charging to nail World of Trouble in the final strides for second.
Quip completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.72.
“He is a pretty forward horse and he's a smart horse,” said Brisset, a former Bill Mott assistant who recorded his first graded stakes victory. “On paper, it looked like we were going to be there early, and it was a matter if they were going to let us go (the half) in 47 seconds or 49. I guess they let us go in 49, which was a little surprising to me. It was just a matter of him being fit enough; I'm not sure if we had him 100 percent, but he was fit enough to win today and that's the main thing.”
Flameaway, who was exiting an upset win in the February 10 Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa, was interfered with at the start and after stalking in third, the 6-1 fourth choice appeared to be laboring before coming again in the latter stages with a nice rally. World of Trouble, the 8-5 favorite in the nine-horse field, finished 4 ¾-lengths clear of 2-1 second choice Vino Rosso, who stalked the pace behind the leaders before coming up empty on the far turn and holding his spot for fourth.
Tiz Mischief never fired at 5-1 and wound up another 5 ½ lengths back in fifth. Untamed Domain, Caloric, Arazi Like Move and Grandpa Knows Best completed the order of finish. Enticed and Free Drop Billy were scratched and wound up finishing first and third, respectively, in Saturday’s Gotham (G3) at Aqueduct.
A son Distorted Humor, Quip has now won 3-of-4 career starts. He broke his maiden at Churchill Downs last September and followed with a convincing allowance tally at Keeneland four weeks later, but the bay was steadied in the early stages of the Kentucky Jockey Club and never fired in his stakes debut.
“I've always thought a lot of him,” Geroux sid. “The way the Jockey Club unfolded, he was between horses most of the time and he didn't really respond when I called him. But I've always known he had talent. Rodolphe rides him in the morning, and he said he was doing fantastic. It seemed like he handled the track very well. Both horses (Quip and pacesetter World of Trouble) were doing great, and I'm glad to know Quip was best today.”
Bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm, Quip is out of the Indian Charlie mare Princess Ash, a half-sister to 2013 Wood Memorial (G1) runner-up and Kentucky Derby fourth-placer Normandy Invasion.