Trainer Phil D’Amato wins many Southern California turf stakes with Irish breds, but in the Sept. 3 Del Mar Derby (G2T) he defeated an Irish-bred with a Kentucky-bred. Conclude, a Kentucky-bred son of Collected, captured his third consecutive stakes and stretched out to 1 1/8 miles, and he gutted out the victory over a game Maltese Falcon.

The Derby marked the first time Conclude and Maltese Falcon met. They had each taken one of Del Mar‘s 3-year-old turf stakes during the meeting, Conclude capturing the July 21 Oceanside Stakes the first day of the Del Mar stand and Maltese Falcon coming along to nab the Aug. 6 La Jolla Handicap (G3T).

Conclude, ch, 3/c
Collected — Believe You Can, by Proud Citizen

Owner: Little Red Feather Racing, Madaket Stables LLC or Jones
Breeder: Brereton C. Jones (KY)
Trainer: Philip D’Amato
Jockey: Hector Isaac Berrios
Information provided by Equibase at time of entry.

Pedigree Notes
Collected stands at Airdrie Stud for $10,000 (2023).

Sale History
KEESEP2021 • ($140,000 RNA) • Consignor: Brereton C. Jones/Airdrie Stud.

When the gate opened in the Derby, Conclude broke on top for jockey Hector Berrios. Longshot Justin’s Legacy took over long enough to account for the first quarter-mile time of :23.91 before Berrios moved Conclude outside of that runner approaching the first turn.

Conclude was responsible for the remaining fractions and was able to dictate an easy pace. He completed a half-mile in :47.40, with a three-length lead over Justin’s Legacy at that point.

Maltese Falcon was running in sixth on the rail and launched his challenge in the second turn. With leading rider Juan Hernandez in the irons, Maltese Falcon closed the gap from the inside as they approached the wire. But Conclude held off Maltese Falcon by a head, stopping the clock in 1:48.61. Almendares finished a length back in third.

“I had a good trip all the way,” Berrios said. “He was relaxed and that’s the best. Then when we turned for home, I said, ‘Vamoose!’ And he really took off from there.”

D’Amato praised Berrios for letting Justin’s Legacy go early “and then making that move at the three-quarter pole to get him comfortable on the lead.” The trainer added that he feels 1 1/8 miles suits Conclude well.

“He’s a tough horse,” D’Amato said. D’Amato was winning his second Del Mar Derby, following Midnight Storm in 2014. Little Red Feather Racing was a partner in the ownership of both horses, with Alex Venneri on Midnight Storm and with Madaket Stable and breeder Brereton C. Jones in Conclude.

D’Amato unveiled Conclude early this year at Santa Anita Park, and the colt broke his maiden by 4 1/4 lengths in his second start. Fourth behind winner First Peace in the April 9 John Shear Stakes on Santa Anita’s downhill turf course after bumping with a rival early, Conclude then won the May 21 Desert Code Stakes over the same course, beating First Peace by a nose. The Oceanside was Conclude’s first attempt around two turns.

Jones bred Conclude from his homebred Proud Citizen mare Believe You Can, millionaire winner of the 2012 Kentucky Oaks (G1). Jones offered Conclude at the 2021 Keeneland September sale, where the colt was a $140,000 RNA. Believe You Can produced an earlier stakes winner, Believe in Royalty, and she has a yearling filly by Nyquist in the upcoming Keeneland sale, consigned by Jones’ Airdrie Stud. 

Video: Caesars Sportsbook Del Mar Derby (G2T)

Click here!