ENDORSEMENT (Distorted Humor) entered Sunday's $800,000 Sunland Derby (G3) owning just one win, having broken his maiden on February 20 at Oaklawn Park. He exited his stakes bow in the 1 1/8-mile test with enough graded earnings to now make it into the Kentucky Derby (G1) on May 1, and according to Bill Casner of owner WinStar Farm, the chestnut colt will be given his shot at the Run for the Roses.
Conveyance (Indian Charlie), the heavy 3-5 favorite, was expected to have no trouble in the Sunland Derby, and moved up to take his usual lead when the gates opened. Endorsement followed under Robby Albarado and settled into a stalking position just to the outside and behind of the pacesetter through easy splits of :23 3/5, :48 and 1:11 4/5. Nacho Friend (Friends Lake), meanwhile, was saving ground on the rail with Tempted to Tapit (Tapit) keeping pace three wide just behind.
As Conveyance entered the turn, Endorsement ranged up to begin his challenge. Martin Garcia was already getting busy on Conveyance, but Albarado bided his time on Endorsement as they began the stretch run. Under encouragement from Albarado, the chestnut colt edged clear in midstretch, eventually crossing under the line three lengths clear while completing nine fast-track furlongs in 1:48 2/5.
Endorsement was sent off the 11-1 fourth choice in the nine-horse field and rewarded his backers with payouts of $25.40, $8.60 and $4.40. Conveyance was best of the rest, three lengths clear of Tempted to Tapit to return $2.80 and $2.10 while ending the $34.70 exacta ($1). Tempted to Tapit raced wide throughout, came three wide around the turn and drifted out some more in midstretch. He was two lengths in front of Fog Alert (Thunder Gulch) on the wire to give back $3 at 9-2 and complete the $119.10 trifecta ($1). Fog Alert, the second longest shot at 55-1, finished off the 5-3-9-7 superfecta ($1) that totaled $1,625.50.
Nacho Friend followed by another three parts of length, with Storming Saint (Sweetsouthernsaint), McKenna's Justice (Medaglia d'Oro), Classical Slew (Bernstein) and Guiltbyassociation (Birdstone) rounding out the order under the wire.
Endorsement began his career with Richard Budge at Churchill Downs last November, running seventh in his career debut. When he reappeared on January 10, the three-year-old was being saddled by Shannon Ritter and ran second while going one-mile-and-40-yards at Fair Grounds. He finally earned his initial win prior to this one, scoring by 2 1/4 front-running lengths, and now owns a 4-2-1-0 career mark. The $400,000 payday here shot his earnings to $430,383.
Bred in Kentucky by Kilroy Thoroughbred Partnership, Endorsement has nearly earned back his purchase price of $450,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. He is out of Charmed Gift (A.P. Indy), runner-up in the 2002 editions of the Silverbulletday S. (G3), Dogwood S. (G3) and Tiffany Lass S. The 11-year-old mare has also produced multiple Mexican stakes winner Vistoso (Fusaichi Pegasus), an unraced juvenile colt named Artifact (Maria's Mon), a yearling full brother to the Sunland Derby winner and a 2010 War Pass colt.
Charmed Gift is herself a daughter of Potridee (Arg) (Potrillazo), the 1992 Argentinean two-year-old champion filly who came to the United States and captured the 1994 Vanity Invitational H. (G1) as well as placing third in that same year's Beverly D. S. (G1). Potridee is a full sister to three group/graded winners who would go on in the breeding shed to produce black-type runners -- Potrizaris (Arg), the 1998 Argentinean three-year-old champion filly who is the dam of dual Japanese Grade 3 winner Dia de la Novia (Jpn) (Sunday Silence); Group 1 winner Potrichal (Arg), who produced multiple Grade 2 king T. H. Approval (With Approval); and Group 1 victress Potrinner (Arg), dam of 2005 American Invitational Oaks (G1) and Beverly D. runner-up Melhor Ainda (Pulpit), a Grade 3 heroine.