Willcox Inn set a stakes record en route to his four-length in the $200,000 American Derby (G2) July 9 at Arlington Park, getting the 1 3/16 miles on the firm turf in 1:54.56. The 3-year-old son of Harlan's Holiday has now won the first two legs of the Mid-America Triple; he won the $100,000 Arlington Classic in May and is now poised to sweep the series with a start in the Aug. 13 Secretariat S. (G1T) on the horizon.
Very quick out of the gate, the speedy Zoebear ran off to a ten length lead after a half-mile, with Willcox Inn comfortably in third. Zoebear slowed suddenly on the backstretch, and Willcox Inn took command after six furlongs. He pulled away from the rest of the ten-horse field going into the final turn, widening without being asked.
“The horse that was on the front stopped really abruptly midway up the backside, so we kind of inherited the lead,” said winning rider Robby Albarado. “We were being pressed from the outside so I kind of expedited it from there but he was doing it well within himself and content doing it and he showed it finishing to the wire.”
The $114,000 winner’s share of the American boosted Willcox Inn's bankroll to $341,543 while improving his record to three wins from seven starts for owner All In Stable. He is trained by Michael Stidham.
Willcox Inn is out of De Aar, who placed in six stakes in her career. Her siblings include millionaires Dynaforce and Cetewayo, who both won graded stakes at Arlington Park, as well as Grade 2 winner Bowman Mill.
Harlan's Holiday's runners have now accumulated 12 stakes wins in 2011, tied for third among all North American stallions.