Epicenter is on his way to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby (G1) after the Not This Time colt turned in a powerhouse performance in the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds.
Epicenter now has 164 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby Challenge, easily earning him a spot in the starting gate for the May 7th Classic.
Epicenter showed a new dimension on Saturday’s 1 3/16-mile race. In last month’s Risen Star S. (G2), he led gate to wire, but on Saturday chose to sit a few lengths off the pace set by Zosos as the field made its way around the first turn. Still in third after six furlongs in 1:11.69, Epicenter moved out into the three path as he came into the stretch and take aim at the lead. He blew past Zosos and coasted home in the final furlong to win by 2 ½-lengths.
The final time of 1:54.38 set a new track record for the distance.
“I feel that he’s made some great progress over the winter. He’s done so good over the surface here at the Fair Grounds this winter and (in) his physical development,” winning trainer Asmussen said. “He’s got a mile and an eighth in him, frontrunning win, and then today, a little bit off the pace going a mile and three-sixteenths in a very solid time. It gives us just a tremendous amount of confidence in going into the Kentucky Derby.”
Epicenter, owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC, has won four of six starts and surpassed the $1 million earnings mark after his win, with an official number of $1,010,639. He was bred in Kentucky by Westwind Farms and purchased by his owner for $260,000 at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling sale.
Not This Time was the leading Second-Crop Sire of 2021 and has picked right up this year, topping the Third-Crop list currently with more than $2.6 million in progeny earnings.