11/28/2015 7:32PM

Chiropractor scores upset victory in Hollywood Derby


DEL MAR, Calif. – Chiropractor, who had a spinal cord injury as a yearling that briefly jeopardized his survival, won his stakes debut in a 14-1 upset Saturday in the $302,250 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar.

The win gave owner-breeder Glen Hill Farm and trainer Tom Proctor their second graded stakes win of the day at Del Mar. Earlier, they teamed to win the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante Stakes for 2-year-old fillies with Family Meeting.

Chiropractor ($30.80) was ridden for the first time by Corey Nakatani, who guided the gelding from 10th in a field of 14 to win by a head over the 12-1 March, one of four runners in the field trained by New York-based Chad Brown. Om, the 4-5 favorite, led in the stretch but faded to finish third, beaten a half-length.

Chiropractor ran 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:48.87.

The complexion of the race changed Saturday morning when the outsider Vigilante was scratched, allowing the speedy longshot Acceptance into the field. Acceptance, the 60-1 third-longest shot in a field of 14, took the lead at the start, relegating Om to a stalking position in second. Om led throughout his preceding two races, wins in the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby and Grade 2 Twilight Derby at Santa Anita.

Acceptance led by as many as three lengths – through a half-mile in 47.41 seconds – but yielded the lead to Om on the turn. Turning into the stretch, Om led by more than a length, but the pursuers were rapidly moving closer.

Chiropractor was 10th on the turn and advanced to fourth with a furlong to go within two lengths of Om. Through the final furlong, Chiropractor responded to Nakatani’s urging to score a narrow win.

“With these kind of races, the pace is the key – and that worked well for us,” Nakatani said. “The colt was full of himself, and when it came time, he fired.”

March, winner of the Grade 2 Woody Stephens Stakes for 3-year-olds on dirt at Belmont Park in June, ran his best career race on turf in the Hollywood Derby. He was seventh for the first six furlongs but could not keep pace with the winner, said jockey Rafael Bejarano.

“I had a good trip,” said Bejarano. “But every time I got closer to the winner, he took off again. I had no excuse.”

Dan Hendricks, who trains Om, said his colt ran to his ability.

“They ran a strong race,” said Hendricks. “We just got beat. We can’t complain.”

Gary Stevens, who rode Om, said the colt was upset in the gate but otherwise ran well.

“He was good during the running,” said Stevens. “He wasn’t pulling. We just got beat.”

March is trained by Chad Brown, who finished fourth and fifth with two other runners – Fundamental and Offering Plan.

Soul Driver was sixth, followed by Closing Bell, Money Multiplier, Mister Brightside, Sharla Rae, Acceptance, Crittenden, Royal Albert Hall, and Win the Space. Money Multiplier was Brown’s other starter.

Craig Bernick of Glen Hill Farm said Chiropractor was given his name after he needed 12 months of treatment for an upper spinal cord injury detected when he was a yearling in March 2013. Chiropractor’s condition improved over time after frequent treatments.

“We don’t know what he did,” said Bernick. “It was 50-50 on whether we would have to put him down. He had something wrong with his back.”

Chiropractor’s health was good enough for him to begin racing earlier this year in the mid-Atlantic with Proctor. Chiropractor had won 2 of 6 starts before Saturday’s race, facing older horses in four of those races.

“He’s been running against older horses, and with older horses, it’s often tougher competition,” said Bernick. “We weren’t too worried about running against 3-year-olds.”

Chiropractor, by top turf stallion Kitten’s Joy, has won 3 of 7 starts and earned $273,100.