08/11/2013 10:42PM

Emerald Downs Derby: Worldventurer makes it look easy

Reed Palmer/Emerald Downs Photo
Worldventurer, with Julien Couton aboard, won the $65,000 Emerald Downs Derby by seven lengths.

AUBURN, Wash. – Worldventurer rolled to a surprisingly easy victory Sunday in the $65,000 Emerald Downs Derby, taking advantage of a blazing early pace to cruise past a trio of tiring front-runners en route to a seven-length victory. He ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.79 and paid $7.80.

Valiant Flame, the longest shot on the board, also rallied from far back and finished second, 7 1/2 lengths ahead of Mike Man’s Gold in a field of six. Music of My Soul, the 4-5 favorite, finished fourth, 18 lengths behind the winner, after getting used up in a speed duel with Botch, who finished fifth, and Finallygotabentley, who was eased after joining the leaders through a half-mile in 44.91 seconds and six furlongs in 1:09.98.

Worldventurer, a Texas-bred owned by Peter Redekop of Langley, British Columbia, won for the first time in three starts at Emerald Downs. In his most recent outing before the Emerald Downs Derby, he finished third in the 1 1/16-mile Seattle Slew Handicap behind pacesetting winner Mike Man’s Gold.

Worldventurer came to Emerald Downs from Texas in May after being transferred to trainer Blaine Wright, with Redekop hoping to have the horse in peak form for the Grade 3, $150,000 B.C. Derby at Hastings on Sept. 8. If he were to win in Vancouver, Worldventurer would join Roscoe Pito (2003) and Winning Machine (2009) as the only horses to win derbies at both Emerald Downs and Hastings.

Julien Couton came in from Southern California on Sunday to ride Worldventurer, who lagged well behind the leaders through the first five furlongs before circling the field on the turn. His emphatic victory was worth $35,750 for Redekop and pushed Worldventurer’s career earnings to $263,182. He has won 5 of 15 starts.

"The only thing he told me before the race is he doesn't like to be on the inside," Couton said of prerace discussions with Wright. "I was able to get to the outside and let the horse get to his cruising speed, and he obviously liked this distance."