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Solemn Tribute Takes Tropical Park Derby

Dec 19, 2015
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL — Solemn Tribute brought the house down with a rousing performance in today’s $75,000 Tropical Park Derby at Gulfstream Park. Owned by Gretchen and Roy Jackson’s Lael Stables, the 3-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro took command early and held off a host of challengers to notch his first stakes victory. 

Solemn Tribute ($12.00) put up a sparkling opening half-mile of :46.89 while chased by Watchyourownbobber. He was swarmed in midstretch and lost the lead for a few strides, but battled back gamely under a cool ride by Julien Leparoux and hit the wire first. The final time for the 8 1/2-furlong test was 1:39.87. Team Colors rallied widest of all to claim second, while Watchyourownbobber and A Lot dead-heated for third.

“He broke sharp and I let him do it himself and relax,” Leparoux commented. “On the backside, he grabbed the bit a little but was still doing it easy. When they came to him, he fought back and ran great. It was a very tight finish. I didn’t know I won or not until coming back (to the winner’s circle).”

Produced by the Vindication mare Loving Vindication, Solemn Tribute was acquired by the Jacksons for $385,000 as a yearling at Keeneland September. He made his first four career starts for trainer Arnaud Delacour, but was turned over to trainer Brian Lynch and promptly earned his diploma at Woodbine on July 26. He followed that with an allowance win at the Ontario oval on September 7 before finishing third by a neck at the same track a month later. In his first South Florida appearance, Solemn Tribute finished second by a half-length to Watchyourownbobber in the Showing Up Stakes at Gulfstream Park West on Halloween. 

“He’s done nothing but improve since we got him and he’s turned out to be a really neat horse,” said Erin Cotterill, Lynch’s assistant trainer. “I was a little concerned when I saw the half in :46 (seconds), but that’s the way he wants to run—he wants to be left alone to do his own thing, and if he’s good enough, he’s going to keep going. It was a perfect ride by Julien. I know that he had been pointed for this race, and we’ll see how he comes out of it and go from there.”

Solemn Tribute’s Tropical Park Derby victory took his career bankroll to $132,813. He was bred in Ontario by Anderson Farms Inc.

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