Updated on 09/15/2011 1:14PM

No Slip captures Oak Tree Derby


ARCADIA, Calif. - A nod of the head was the difference between No Slip and Sligo Bay in Saturday's $150,000 Oak Tree Derby at Santa Anita.

The pair traded leads in the final few strides, but No Slip had his head down at the finish. The official margin was a nose after 1 1-8 miles on turf in 1:46.56.

Trained by the red-hot Bobby Frankel, No Slip was patiently ridden by Kent Desormeaux. He said that urging his mount with his reins instead of a whip worked well through the stretch.

"He really responded," Desormeaux said. "I was lucky to get there in the last few strides."

Seventh on the first turn, Desormeaux kept No Slip wide on the

backstretch, stalking a slow pace of 24.06 and 47.95 seconds set by Sigfreto.

No Slip drew closer on the second turn and was four-wide entering the stretch. At the eighth pole, No Slip was still sixth, but only 2 1-2 lengths off the front. Staying wide, No Slip caught Sligo Bay with 50 yards remaining.

"You can't beat Bobby Frankel," said Beau Greely, who trains Sligo Bay.

"I thought we were there."

Sligo Bay finished a neck in front of Romanceishope, the 8-5 favorite on the strength of his win in the Del Mar Derby. Sigfreto finished fourth, followed by Mister Approval, Startac, Huggy Boy, Lasting Tribute, and Hadrian's Wall.

Startac was making his first start since winning the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park in August.

No Slip was making his stakes debut in the U.S. after finishing third in a minor race in France earlier this year. Owned by Amerman Racing, No Slip won an allowance race at Del Mar on Sept. 2 in his U.S. debut.