2011 Hollywood Derby - Ultimate Eagle
Owner BJ Wright and trainer Michael Pender capped their superb Turf Festival at Hollywood Park when Ultimate Eagle went gate to wire to win the $250000 Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) at odds of 14-1 Nov. 27 (VIDEO) . Wright and Pender won the $250000 Citation Handicap (gr. IIT) a day earlier with favored Jeranimo. Ultimate Eagle, now four-for-four since Pender switched the 3-year-old son of Mizzen Mast to turf this summer, won by three-quarters of a length and completed the 1 1/4-mile event for 3-year-olds in 2:01.43 on firm turf. Ultimate Eagle was ignored in the betting in spite of his half-length victory in the 1 1/8-mile Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT) Oct. 15 at Santa Anita Park. "We were very confident," Wright told TVG afterward. "We think we have the best 3-year-old in the country." Martin Pedroza rode Ultimate Eagle to victory over a tough field that included a number of shippers. Phipps Stable's Imagining, shipped in from New York by trainer Shug McGaughey, tracked Ultimate Eagle all the way around the track and held on for second. British invaders Western Aristocrat and Slumber finished third and fourth, respectively. "It's miraculous considering where this horse came from," Pender said following his first grade I triumph. "(Ultimate Eagle) had colic (in June 2010) and was basically pronounced dead on the table. Somehow, by an act of God, he was brought back to life."
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