Most horseracing fans descended on ThistleDown hoping to catch a glimpse of three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Calvin Borel. They instead left celebrating East Hall's conquest of the Ohio Derby.
What began as anybody's race ended in a victory for Florida's East Hall, who pulled just ahead of Jessica's Star to take home $300,000 as the winner of the 80th Ohio Derby.
East Hall competed against 10 other heavy hitters, including early favorite Almost Famous, who was ridden by Borel. But as the most-raced horse in the Ohio Derby and trained by William Kaplan, East Hall took the title in the 1 1/16-mile race. This was Kaplan's first time racing at ThistleDown.
"It was an exciting day at ThistleDown," said Patrick Ellsworth, racing secretary at ThistleDown. "A large crowd braved a little bit of rain to pack the apron and enjoy our signature race, which had its largest and most impressive field in 15 years."
Horses who entered the race and their post positions are listed below. Harry's Holiday scratched Saturday morning, leaving 11 horses to run the race. The Ohio Derby gained prominence this year as the purse was raised to $300,000, which is three times larger than the $100,000 purse provided in 2013.
3. Bump Start
4. Almost Famous
5. Harry's Holiday
9. Jessica's Star
11. Saa Mi
12. East Hall
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