Thursday, 10 August 2023 07:32

One for Chap Overcomes Adversity to Secure Victory and Earns Spot in $200,000 Canadian Derby

One for Chap and Enrique Gonzalez at the wire on Friday at Century Mile One for Chap and Enrique Gonzalez at the wire on Friday at Century Mile Coady Photo/Ryan Haynes

Move on over. There’s a new big shooter in town: One for Chap who overcame a brutally wide trip to win an allowance race at Century Mile this past Friday.

Now he too is headed for the August 26 $200,0000 Canadian Derby.

“I’m really happy with him,” said One for Chap’s trainer Tim Rycroft.

“He really needed that race. It was his first race in almost two months.”

Drifting badly going into the first turn One for Chap remained wide down the backstretch and was fanned even wider turning for home. But he still had enough to win by a length and a quarter.

“Enrique (jockey Gonzalez) told me he thought he was going to blow by them at the top of the stretch,” said Rycroft.

“But then Enrique said One for Chap started to look around. He looked at the crowd. He looked at the lights. He looked at everything. It’s the same thing he does when he goes out for a gallop in the mornings. He’s always looking to see what’s around the next corner.

“He’s still a really green colt.”

Based in Ontario and owned by Jim Lawson’s Spruce Stable, One for Chap is also a horse that is almost certainly going to have a big say in the outcome of the Derby.

“He had a long time off and a tough trip on Friday but he overcame both of them,” said Lawson, the Chief Executive Officer of Woodbine Entertainment Group.

“I thought he ran pretty well. But then he was always meant to be a nice horse.”

That’s for sure.

Sired by Ransom the Moon, who twice won the Grade 1 Bing Crosby at Del Mar, it is the dam’s side where One for Chap really exudes class.

After all, One for Chap’s mother Destroy, bred by Jim’s dad, Mel, is a Canadian Hall of Fame broodmare who has had 14 foals of which 11 were winners and seven of which were stakes winners including Smokey Fire, who won over $700,000. Including Smokey Fire, three of Destroy’s foals won Graded stakes.

And that doesn’t include Morado, who set a track record at Woodbine.

One for Chap is Destroy’s last foal. At the age of 26, Destroy still roams Lawson’s farm in Kentucky.

Furthermore, Destroy’s dam is multiple Canadian champion Eternal Search, who also raced for the Lawson family. Eternal Search won 17 stakes and was a three-time Sovereign Award winner.

“The bottom line is that One for Chap is part of one of the better families in Canadian racing,” said Lawson, who was previously the Chair of the Board of Governors for the Canadian Football League and twice served as interim Commissioner of the CFL.

“I hope One for Chap does well but looking at the nominations it’s going to be a really good field.”

Prior to Friday, One for Chap had three starts after breaking his maiden last July at Toronto’s Woodbine racetrack. He was eighth, fifth and seventh which doesn’t sound like much. But if you dig a little deeper you’ll see a different story.

Running against the best three-year-olds in Ontario, One for Chap was beaten by just six lengths while running eighth in last year’s Soar Free stakes. In this year’s King Corrie stake he was fifth defeated by just four lengths. And, in his last race in Ontario, he was seventh in the Queenston but lost by just three and a quarter lengths for it all.

Furthermore, there is the competition One for Chap has faced.

Phillip My Dear, who won the Soar Free, came back to win the prestigious Cup and Saucer. Smoke Lightening, second in the Soar Free went on to win an allowance race. And Stayhonor Goodside, third in the Soar Free, went on to run second in that Cup and Saucer.

In the Queenston, runner-up Paramount Prince came back to win the King’s Plate Trial.

The King’s Plate, Canada’s most prestigious race which runs August 20th , was where One for Chap was originally headed.

“I asked my trainer in Ontario, Mark Casse, if I should nominate One for Chap to The Plate and he said definitely,” Lawson said of Canada’s perennial leading trainer.

“But I wanted to come back to Alberta. My dad, Mel, who died in 2011, won the Canadian Derby and the Speed to Spare with Let’s Go Blue in 1984 and I thought it would be fun to see if I could win it too.

“The original plan was to go into all three Western Canada Derbies: Manitoba, Alberta and B.C. but then One for Chap bruised a heal and had to skip the Manitoba Derby.

One for Chap was supposed to have run at Century Mile in the July 22 Count Lathum which was won by another top Derby threat, American Blaze, but was a veterinarian scratch because of another bruised heel.

Rycroft said that problem is no longer a factor. “We’ve dealt with it; it’s no big deal,” said Rycroft. “He showed that on Friday.”

Interestingly, One for Chap had never run on dirt until Friday: his first three races were on grass and his last two on synthetic.

“We worked him on dirt on July 1 and Mark said he just floated over it,” said Lawson.

“When I heard that I said ‘Great; let’s go west.”

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Read 783 times Last modified on Wednesday, 09 August 2023 07:39