Updated on 05/04/2012 5:13PM

Fair Grounds: Hero of Order wins a shocker at 109-1 in Louisiana Derby

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Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges Jr.
Hero of Order (right) holds off Mark Valeski to score a 109-1 upset in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby.

NEW ORLEANS – Russian-immigrant trainer Gennadi Dorochenko goes about his business in an unconventional manner. Morning workouts? Those, Dorochenko – a former jockey – shuns, calling them the province of trainers who want merely to impress owners. What Dorochenko does is race. His horses run far more frequently than those of most American trainers. They run a lot, and they lose a lot. At Fair Grounds this meet, Dorochenko had started 136 horses before Sunday. Six had won.

A 3-year-old colt named Hero of Order was making his ninth start of the Fair Grounds season Sunday. It came in the $1 million Louisiana Derby. And Hero of Order, a 109-1 shot, won it by a half-length, giving Dorochenko one of the most unlikely successes of recent racing history. Hero of Order’s $220.80 win mutuel was the highest in Louisiana Derby history.

“It’s a dream,” Dorochenko said.

Dorochenko, 53, is the operator of Raut LLC, Hero of Order’s owner. Every year at the Keeneland September sale, Dorochenko buys a large quantity of bargain-basement yearlings. Hero of Order cost $3,000. He earned $600,000 for Sunday’s win, the second stakes victory of Dorochenko’s career.

Also in on the shock factor was 46-year-old jockey Eddie Martin, who rode Hero of Order for the first time in a half-mile workout last week. Martin, a New Orleans native, rode at Delta Downs this winter, but used to ply his trade at Fair Grounds. Until Sunday, He’d won every race of import at this track save one – the Louisiana Derby.

:: Who is Gennadi Dorochenko?

“That was pretty cool, man,” Martin said a few minutes after his stunning victory.

Hero of Order won, despite running slow. Final time for the 1 1/8-mile derby was 1:50.13, while just two races earlier, Nates Mineshaft won the New Orleans Handicap in 1:47.64. Pressing the pace of Comisky’s Humor, who set fractions of 23.39 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 47.27 for the first half, Hero of Order took over from the tiring leader midway around the far turn.

“I was able to give him a little breather from the three-eighths to the quarter-pole,” Martin said.

At the top of the stretch, Mark Valeski, the race favorite, closed in on Hero of Order after stalking the pacesetters, and he appeared poised to push past for much of the straightaway. But Hero of Order pushed on resolutely, holding on for a hard-fought victory.

“That other horse wouldn’t quit,” said Mark Valeski’s trainer, Larry Jones. “I thought he was supposed to stop.”

After Mark Valeski returned to the barn, it was discovered he had lost his left front shoe during the race.

“He was limping afterward, but when we got him back to the barn and jogged him on the pavement, we found it was because he’d lost the shoe,” Jones said.

Rousing Sermon, running late, rallied for third, just edging Cigar Street, who attended the pace but couldn’t finish with the top two. Behind Cigar Street came Shared Property, Windsurfer, Afford, Z Dager, Fire Alarm, Finnegans Wake, Flashy Sunrise, Mr. Bowling, and Comisky’s Humor.

Dorochenko, who cuts an unusual profile, with long arms and legs attached to a jockey-size torso, would have made a Kentucky Derby stir, but Hero of Order is unlikely to be able to start in the race. He is not an original Triple Crown nominee and would only get into the Derby field if 20 nominees don’t desire a spot in the Derby starting gate.

Still, the win in Sunday’s race marked an epic high point in the career of Dorochenko, who is from Krasnodar, Russia, and rode horses there and in Poland before coming to California in 1993. Dorochenko rode races in California and Washington, and briefly in Delaware, during a largely unsuccessful career as a jockey. In the mid-1990s, he turned to training, and suddenly, late in 2010, his stable swelled to more than 100 horses thanks to an influx of young stock purchased at sales by Raut and Vladimir Kazakov.

As for Hero of Order, he won a maiden sprint here in January and had acquitted himself decently in three previous stakes, finishing fifth in the Lecomte, fourth in the Risen Star, and second March 10 in the Black Gold, a turf race.

“I don’t know why he was 99-1,” Dorochenko said. “I was surprised. The horse was ready.”

The horse might have been ready – but almost no one was ready for Gennadi Dorochenko to win the Louisiana Derby.

Andrew More than 1 year ago
I have been in this game for over 35 years -26 in another country where all Jockeys oming coming out of the Jockeys room know which horse is going to win. We used to bet for them so we know. I have been just a few years in the U.S and watched the racing here. Its exactly the same . The big guns control the racing and they decide which horse is going to win. Case in point Watch Alpha.'s last race. Why does a horse suddenly start going wide just when it is about to pass the winning horse 20 meters before the finish line. Simple . Because it is not supposed to win. The winner has already been appointed albiet a lesser horse. Watch a jockey's saddle and pushing actions when he is supposed to win and watch him again on a horse on which he is not although he has a chance. One could see umpteen replays of this, time and again in countless races You will find the truth in what I say.Having said that look at all available info. on a horse. when i say all I mean jockey/trainer/ownercombinations. You will win every race day.
Andy More than 1 year ago
Been nice to have had hit that 50 cent Pk 4 for over $200K.
Riposte More than 1 year ago
"DA!"
Enigma To!o More than 1 year ago
what a farce. racing is a joke--
Eric Singer More than 1 year ago
why is it hard for gamblers to make $ at the track? come on you could read the racing form for 6 hours and you would not have picked that horses - lowly connections, cheap horse, and he was not lone speed. call it charming or frustrating - horse racing is not an easy bet.
Andrea Klassen More than 1 year ago
Wow, I hope this colt survives this! 14 starts in the past 7 months and he only just turned 3 for real (March 21st). Brutal campaign. While it is fun to land a payout like this, I'm worried for the horse.
Joshua Bauman More than 1 year ago
This idea that horses that race frequently are at risk is a misconception fomented by PETA. Sound horses can race frequently if they are not breezed and lightly galloped between starts. It doesn't make them breakdown. Sometimes, they plateau in their ability, which is why most trainers space out the races interspersed with workouts. It's designed, in most cases, to improve their ability. Sometimes, it's the workouts that breakdown the horses. If you're worried for this horse, you're looking in the wrong direction. This trainer wouldn't hurt this horse, which is obvious to someone who really participates in this game. This horse wants to race, and racing keeps him in shape. You'll never get that kind of price on him again, and he probably won't win another major stake in his career.
Ange More than 1 year ago
Well sorry if my Assistant Trainer's license isn't good enough for you to make me someone who really participates in this game. That and the horses I breed and race. No one should start a 2 year old as often as this guy did.
Arthur Patrick More than 1 year ago
No need to take it personally. Sea Biscuit started 35 times as a 2 year old. The real reasoning that horses don't start so often is because the US keeps trainer statistics and this plays a large part in the perception of the quality of the trainer. Low percentage trainers that run their horses into shape dont get those sexy winning percentages and likewise recognition and big owners/horses. This guy is just a throwback trainer type that honestly i wish we saw more of in this country. Sure 14 times in 7 months is a lot but you got to remember that most of those starts the horse was not fit and jsut ran around in a "paid" public workout.
Larry Goren More than 1 year ago
would you want to bet on horses who aren't trying to win ?
Miguel Bonifaz More than 1 year ago
One more of the glorious uncertainties that make horse racing so fun. Well that´s it folks...seems fillies and west coast invaders will have a say in this yera´s Derby. Widen your scope, dividends are going to be huge in the Run for the Roses.
Rodney Dangerfield More than 1 year ago
Congrats to the trainer and the jockey, it's nice to see the little guys who work hard at this sport, have nice win like this. As for the comments that the trainer might have doped this horse, that kind of talk disturbs me. Give the trainer and jockey credit and move on. And just for some facts, this horse had a 94 beyer in the Risen Star and came back with a 94 beyer in turf stakes as well. The Louisiana Derby was run very slow in terms of the time of the race, and I'm sure the beyer of that race will reflect that. Well glad to see the little guys win a big one.,
Miguel Whatley More than 1 year ago
Yes and this trainer just won 5 straight winners out of seven starters at Turfway Park the others finish in the money with a rider like Chris Russell and all looked like they couldn't beat themselves.That's why i bet on Hero of order at 99-1 as a joke/haunch bet $10-WPS.and we know the rest of the story.Moreover I beleive this horse can win another Stakes in Ohio,Iowa,Maryland,Minn etc. the trainer must use his head he has a jockey in Eddie. M
RANDY MAYORAL More than 1 year ago
Need I say more, this what happens when you don't box your bet.
Rodney Dangerfield More than 1 year ago
Randy, Been there done that before, best of luck going forward.
Rich Rogers More than 1 year ago
Your my Hero baby!!! 5 G's in the bank, kids are going to eat good this week.