‘He’s Meant To Be A Good Horse’: Great Escape Blazes To Track Record-Setting Win In Canadian Derby - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

‘He’s Meant To Be A Good Horse’: Great Escape Blazes To Track Record-Setting Win In Canadian Derby

Friends and family crowd the winner’s circle after Great Escape wins the G3 Canadian Derby at Century Mile Racetrack

Great Escape turned the tables on favorite Red Knobs in the $200,000 Canadian Derby (G3) Saturday at Century Mile Racetrack, stalking his pacesetting stablemate to the quarter pole, handily dispatching that rival, then blazing through the stretch en route to 3 ½-length, track record-setting victory.

Rico Walcott guided Great Escape across the finish line in a time of 2:01.35, a new standard for the 1 ¼ miles on a fast track.

A tiring Red Knobs hung on for second in the 12-horse field, giving trainer Robertino Diodoro a 1-2 finish in the race. Ridden by Jorge Carreno, he was a half length to the good of third-place finisher Regal Riot.

Walcott notched a sixth win in the Canadian Derby, having previously ridden the winners in 2010, 2013, 2014, 2017, and 2018 when run at the now-shuttered Northlands Park.

Red Knobs posted a quick half mile in :45.35 with Great Escape rating in second, a length back, before getting to within a half-length of the leader through six furlongs in 1:09.53. Challenging Red Knobs nearing the quarter pole, the Midnight Storm colt easily took charge for the decisive victory, his first stakes triumph.

The pair reversed the finish of their previous race, the 1 1/8-mile Manitoba Derby, in which Great Escape set the pace as Red Knobs chased from second then took control in the stretch to get the win August 1 at Assiniboia Downs.

Diodoro has won three editions of the Canadian Derby: Broadway Empire in 2013; Edison in 2014, and Sky Promise in 2018. He also had Chief Know It All cross the finish line first in 2017 only to be disqualified.

Great Escape broke his maiden by 2 ½ lengths last September at Churchill Downs in his second career start, his only win from eight starts prior to the Canadian Derby.

“Great Escape still needs to fill out a bit,” Diodoro said prior to Sunday's race. “He's meant to be a good horse. “(He) has all the tools. He can be a handful sometimes, but he's very nice to be around. He trains like a good horse. He looks like a good horse.”

Diodoro said Walcott told him that Great Escape could turn the tables on Red Knobs in the Canadian Derby at the South Edmonton, Alberta track.

“Rico said the track at Century Mile is a little faster than it was (in the Manitoba Derby at Assiniboia Downs) and that Great Escape is going to like that.”

Great Escape, who has a 2-4-0 record from nine lifetime starts and $226,836 in earnings, races for a partnership that includes Arnold Bennewith, and Rick, Clayton and Lana Wiest, Randy Howg, R6 Stables, Gary Kropp, and Norman Tremblay. He returned $7.30.

The colt was bred in Kentucky by Usquebaugh Stables LLC. Produced by the Indian Charlie mare Chickasaw Gal, he is from the family of graded stakes winner and Central Kentucky sire Cairo Prince and sold for $200,000 to Maverick Racing in the Taylor Made Sales Agency's consignment at the 2020 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Selected Yearlings Showcase.

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