Favored Gustafame Takes Adequan Texas Derby Challenge

The homebred Freighttrain B gelding gets his first stakes win.

Q-Racing Journal

Jim and Louise Padgett's Gustafame was all alone at the wire in Saturday's 400-yard Adequan Texas Derby Challenge. PHOTO: Coady Photographhy

Jim and Louise Padgett's Gustafame, the fastest qualifier and 13-10 favorite in a full field of 10, earned his first stakes victory in the Adequan Texas Derby Challenge (G3) at Sam Houston Race Park on Saturday.

The connections of Gustafame,
including owners Jim and Louise
Padgett, celebrate the homebred's
win on Saturday. PHOTO: Coady

Ridden by Rodrigo Vallejo for trainer Judd Kearl, Gustafame covered 400 yards in :19.823 and posted a 103 speed index while racing against a reported 10-mph head wind. The homebred sorrel son of Freighttrain B's margin of victory was a clear two lengths from 18-1 longshot A Salty Corona, and he scored a berth in the October 14, $180,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G2) at Prairie Meadows.

Gustafame was bred in Utah, and he banked $25,420 winner's share of the $55,260 purse on Saturday.

“It’s great to see what this horse did today,” said Kearl. “The Padgetts are close friends and they raised this colt and sent him to me. He was a big, gangly colt, like a seven foot seventh grader.

"He matured mentally and physically," the trainer added. "We had to do a little surgery on him last year, and they gave me time to get him ready for this race.”

Kearl reported that Gustafame will head to Ruidoso Downs. The reigning AQHA champion trainer, Kearl won last year's All American Derby (G1) at the New Mexico track with EC Jet One.

“Judd, Rodrigo and his crew did an excellent job,” said Jim Padgett. “They are second to none for the job they do. As a young horse, (Gustafame) was very aggressive and tested your patience. But once we sent him to Judd, he knew how to handle him.”

The Padgetts' son, Jimmy Padgett, is one of Kearl's top assistants. Jimmy is currently at Ruidoso Downs, prepping Kearl's horses for that meet, which opens on Friday.

Gustafame has won three of his eight starts and has earned $43,410, of which $27,520 has been banked this season.

Tac My Time, Deala Quick Game, Mystic Daddy, Hawktomatic, Rc The Duke, Trashy Tres, Zoomin Hero, and Executive Moment completed the order of finish.

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