BY BROCK SHERIDAN
John C. Oxley and Breeze Easy LLC’s Boppy O came from off the pace to win the $100,000 Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park Saturday. The $100,000 Jersey Derby offered a field of seven three-year-olds who went one mile on the grass and Bobby O won for the first time since taking the Grade 3 With Anticipation going a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the inner turf at Saratoga in August.
Second to last early in the Jersey Derby, Boppy O and jockey Isaac Castillo were about five lengths off of fellow Florida-bred Cosmic Speculation, who set quarter-mile fractions in :22.69, :46.77 at odds of 110-1 while being chased by Florida-bred Swan Lake in second. Cosmic Speculation and Swan Lake were heads apart with a quarter-mile to the finish before 2-5 favorite Talk of the Nation took a clear lead in the run for home. But Boppy O was in full-stride in deep stretch and raced by Talk of the Nation to win by a length in 1:34.02 on the firm course.
Talk of the Nation finished two-and-a-quarter lengths in front of third-place finisher Turf King (Ire) followed by Swan Lake, Cosmic Speculation, People Force and Sherlock’s Jewel. Activist Investing (GB), Ironsides and Offaly Cool scratched.
Trained by Mark Casse, Boppy O paid $18.80 to win at odds better than 8-1.
“I talked to Isaac Castillo in the paddock and I thought he’d be closer to the leaders this race,” Casse assistant Shane Tripp said. “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.”
Castillo said Boppy O responded well in chasing down the favorite.
“I watched the replays of his past few races and I saw [Boppy O] was very strong running late in his last race at Tampa,” Castillo said. “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.”
Boppy O was second in his previous two races, both against stakes horses. He was second to Otago in the $100,000 Equistaff Sophomore Turf at Tampa Bay Downs on Florida Cup Day in March and second to Jersey Derby foe Swan Lake in the $100,000 English Channel over the Gulfstream Park grass on May 6.
Boppy O has now won three of 10 career starts with two seconds and a third while banking $268,978.
By Bolt d’Oro out of the stakes-winning mare Pappascat, by Scat Daddy, Boppy O was bred by George and Karen Russell’s Rustlewood Farm Inc., and is a half-brother to their graded stakes-winner Pappacap. Pappascat has four winners from four starters plus an unnamed 2-year-old colt by first crop sire Omaha Beach and an unnamed yearling colt by War of Will. She was bred to Candy Ride (Arg) in 2022.
The current ownership team purchased Boppy O for $190,000 as a yearling at Keeneland in September out of Francis and Barbara Vanlangendock’s Summerfield consignment.
“I think after today he can get another graded stakes,” Tripp said. “He has tried a few and won one. I think with what he showed today he can win another.”