It was trainer Eddie Plesa’s lucky day when Itsmyluckyday took down Two-Year-Old Eclipse Champion Shanghai Bobby in the $400,000 Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla. Itsmyluckyday earned 10 points for the victory and is now on the board in Churchill Downs’ new Road to the Kentucky Derby points system for entry into the Kentucky Derby. Plesa, a Florida-based trainer, has only had one Kentucky Derby starter in his 33-year career—Third Ring, who finished 19th in 1999.
“Words can’t describe it,” said Plesa. “It’s something everybody should feel. Anybody in this game deserves to have this feeling. I wish them all to have this feeling sometime….just not today.”
The race started as many expected with Todd Pletcher’s Shanghai Bobby taking the early lead down on the rail. The even money favorite set the pace with longshot Clearly Now and Itsmyluckyday staying just off his lead while Bern Identity and Frac Daddy were content to settle in mid-pack.
As the field turned for home, Itsmyluckyday made his move from third and quickly overcame Clearly Now with his eyes set on Shanghai Bobby. As the pair dueled into the stretch, they quickly pulled away from the field, leaving the others nearly 12 lengths behind them. Itsmyluckyday gained the advantage on Shanghai Bobby, giving the colt his first defeat in six starts. Joshua’s Comprise trailed the field in the early going and looked to be well-defeated before making a driving effort into the stretch to finish fourth.
Itsmyluckyday set a new track record for the 1 1/16 mile race on the fast main track and earned a whopping 104 Beyer speed figure. The colt is owned by Plesa’s wife Laurie Plesa and Trilogy Stable (Marion Montanari and David Melin).
“Everybody’s excited because of the Kentucky Derby,” said Plesa. “It’s hard not to get wrapped up in that. I know (for) Marion Montanari and David Melin, this is on their bucket list.”
Bern Identity, who went off as the second choice in the field of 10, was not able to overcome a rough start having been bumped repeatedly by Sr. Quisqueyano right out of the gate. The Kelly Breen runner finished fifth.
Frac Daddy faded around the final turn and finished in sixth. Trainer Kenny McPeek said on Twitter after the race that Frac Daddy “grabbed a quarter” (or hit the side of his front foot with his back foot) “and was really green. Needs blinkers and maturity.” The foot was treated and is not expected to be anything that will take the colt off the Derby trail.
Itsmyluckyday returned $11.40, $4.40, and $3.80. Shanghai Bobby paid $3.00 and $2.80 and completed the $2 exacta for $31.40. Clearly Now paid $11.40 and completed the $1 trifecta for $195.10. Joshua’s Comprise completed the $1 superfecta for $5,196.90. The final time for the 1 1/16 mile race over the fast dirt was 1:41:81, a new track record.
Photo: Kentucky Derby.com/Adam Conglianese Photography