Domestic Spending succeeded in spectacular, stalking style in the $303,000 Hollywood Derby by a head under the super cool Irad Ortiz Jr on November 28 at Del Mar. Run over a mile and a furlong on turf, it was a first Grade 1 score for this son of Kingman owned by Klaravich Stables and saddled by Chad Brown.
Michael McCarthy’s 3/1 favorite, Smooth Like Strait, had been ridden close to the pace by Umberto Rispoli and looked the likely winner when taking the lead close to home but was denied victory by the late surge of Domestic Spending and forced to settle for second place. Christophe Clement’s 16/5 second favorite Gufo had been ridden patiently by Flavien Prat. He was the only horse behind the winner for the majority of the race and followed him as he made his late challenge approaching the stretch. Gufo finished third, a neck behind the runner-up.
The pacesetting Get Smokin, a 30/1 shot saddled by Thomas Bush, stayed on bravely under Mike Smith to take fourth, beaten a length. Clement’s other trainee, Decorated Invader, was given every chance by Joel Rosario but could only finish fifth, beaten three and a half lengths after starting at 43/10.
The winning distance was a short one that does not convey the quality of Domestic Spending’s performance. Things did not go to plan for him but he got the job done in the style of a horse that has real talent. He did not break well from gate seven and had to be reined back going into the first turn to avoid wasting ground whilst Get Smokin took the lead. The plan was to be close to the pace but he found himself with only one horse behind him, Ortiz did not panic. He started gently asking his colt to pass his rivals at the three eighths pole and was impressed with the response.
He was now mid pack and had to run four wide on the final turn but that did not stop him gathering enough momentum to reach the leading duo. Smooth Like Strait had predictably got the better of the long-term leader, Get Smokin in the stretch and looked set for victory but Domestic Spending had his head low and ears pinned back in the manner of a colt who had the same objective as his jockey. This had not happened before.
Ortiz knows the colt well and was overjoyed that his always promising partner had learned what was required. He had previously displayed greenness in his races and failed to understand the purpose of his mission but his natural ability had enabled him to get the better of Gufo before. He beat him at in the Saratoga Derby Invitational Stakes in August by a similar margin.
After a less than ideal beginning to the Hollywood Derby the biggest issue that Ortiz experienced was pulling Domestic Spending up after the race. Using his hands and arms half way up his neck in an ugly position failed so he had to ram his legs forwards and use his whole bodyweight to achieve the desired result. The other jockeys found pulling up a much easier task. On that evidence this strong bodied bay colt should have no issue with a longer race distance.