Epsom Derby favorite Desert Crown strolls to win


EPSOM, England — Desert Crown strolled to victory in the Epsom Derby and gave owner Michael Stoute his sixth win in the British Classic on Saturday.

Desert Crown was posted wide in mid-field in the early stages as jockey Richard Kingscote strived to settle the 5-2 favorite in the ideal position. But his class soon saw him tracking the Aidan O’Brien-trained trio of Changingoftheguard, Star Of India and Stone Age, as well as the Simon and Ed Crisford-trained West Wind Blows.

The race was put to bed shortly into the home straight, with Kingscote electing not to wait any longer with the smooth travelling colt approaching the two-furlong pole, allowing his mount to stride to the front and lap up the adulation of the sell-out crowd.

He won by 2½ lengths from 150-1 outsider Hoo Ya Mal.

Ralph Beckett’s Westover can perhaps count himself unlucky in third having been held behind the fading early pacesetters, but the day belonged to Stoute and Kingscote, with the Barbadian picking up his first Derby since Workforce’s victory in 2010.

But the ease of Desert Crown’s second win in just his third race brought back memories of Stoute’s first Derby success in 1981 with the great Shergar.

Stoute stopped short of comparing him to Shergar, but he once again houses one of the most exciting horses in training, and thankfully Desert Crown’s temperament was bombproof as fireworks were let off over the grandstand before the race.

After a textbook effort in the saddle for a first British Classic win on just his second Derby ride, Kingscote was full of praise for Desert Crown.

“He was very smooth and, for a horse that has only run twice, he was very professional,” Kingscote said. “He took all the prelims beautifully and I was really pleased with.

“Every time I have sat on him he’s been very calm and today was no exception. I couldn’t fault him, he went to the start and then fireworks went off and he was a lovely ride.”

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