News & Barn notes

8-1 Boppy O Stages Furious Late Rally To Win Saturday’s Jersey Derby By A Length Over 3-10 Favorite Talk Of The Nation

June 03, 2023

There wasn’t much that went according to the pre-race plan for Boppy O in Saturday’s Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park – except the end result.

The only graded stakes winner in the field of seven 3-year-olds staged a furious rally from mid-stretch on, when he was fifth, to eventually run down 3-10 favorite Talk of the Nation in the final 50 yards on the way to a one-length victory.

The winning time for the mile over a firm turf course was 1:34.02.

Jockey Isaac Castillo, making a delayed return to Monmouth Park, capped a three-win day by booting home the Mark Casse-trainee in the $100,000 feature race.

“I talked to Isaac Castillo in the paddock and I thought he’d be closer to the leaders this race,” said Shane Tripp, Casse’s assistant. “After the break he wasn’t. He was shuffled back.

“Today we learned something about him. He can let the speed go and get his feet under him and come late like he did today. I was a little concerned he was too far back early on. I thought he’d be keener early. Isaac just had to adjust and call an audible.”

With longshot Cosmic Speculation setting quick early fractions while being hounded by Swan Lake to the outside and Talk of the Nation in third on the rail, Boppy O had just one horse beat through opening fractions of :22.69 to the quarter and :46.77 for the half.

Castillo opted to stay on the rail heading into the final turn before wheeling five-wide coming out of it, but still had a lot of ground to make up when Talk of the Nation took the lead in the stretch and looked home-free.

Boppy O, who won the Grade 3 With Anticipation at Saratoga as a 2-year-old, was able to roll by late. It was another 2½ lengths back in third to the Chad Brown-trained Turf King, the second choice in the field.

“I watched the replays of his past few races and I saw he was very strong running late in his last race at Tampa (finishing second as the 11-10 favorite),” said Castillo, fourth in the Oaklawn rider standings last winter. “So I tried to save ground for as long as I could. It really helped that they were going fast in the front. This is a good horse. The races I watched he tries all of the time. I saw the favorite looked like he was in a little trouble late and I had a lot of horse under me and he responded when I asked him.”

Let go at odds of 8-1, the Florida-bred son of Bolt d’Oro-Pappascat by Scat Daddy now sports a 10-3-2-1 record, with all four of his off-the-board finishes coming in graded stakes races.

The colt is owned by John Oxley and Breeze Easy LLC.

“I think after today he can get another graded stakes,” said Tripp. “He has tried a few and won one. I think with what he showed today he can win another.”