Who Took the Money Overcomes All Obstacles, Remains Undefeated in Crescent City Derby

State-bred Star Gets Loose Pre-Race, Still Holds Off Stablemate

 

Gabriel Saez aboard Who Took The Money outduels Highland Creek and Adam Beschizza to win the 49th running of the Crescent City Derby at Fair Grounds.  Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr.

 

To say trainer Bret Calhoun had some anxious moments prior to the $100,000 Crescent City Derby would be like saying Saints fans won’t miss Drew Brees.

Allied Racing Stable’s homebred Who Took the Money, the overwhelming .40-1 favorite, decided to give his 11 3-year-old rivals a fighting chance when he flipped over in the post parade, tossed jockey Gabe Saez, and briefly ran off. Once corralled and deemed fit to run by a state veterinarian, he was all business, rallying along the rail and holding off his game stablemate Highland Creek by a nose.

“He’s a big strong horse and he’s still learning is lessons,” Calhoun said. “Both the horse and jockey were very game in their performances.”

Who Took the Money settled in sixth early on behind longshot leaders Wise Verdict and Wrongwayhighway, while Highland Creek settled in third. The field bunched entering the far turn when Adam Beschizza and Highland Creek opted to tip out wide, while Saez and Who Took the Money held the rail, and scooted through the large opening inside when the leaders fanned off the turn. Who Took the Money kicked clear but Highland Creek was resolute, though he ultimate came up short, with the winner traveling the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.73. It was a length back to Unanimously in third.

Saez was been aboard Who Took the Money in both of his prior two starts and chalked up the pre-race incident to bad luck. But once the gates opened, it was business as usual.

“It was just one of those things that happens every so often,” Saez said. “I was able to save ground on the inside and got through and he kicked on from there.”

Who Took the Money has come a long way in a short period of time for Calhoun, as he was an unraced maiden on the morning of February 5 and is now 3-for-3 and a stakes winner. Wild and hard to handle early on, Calhoun opted to geld the son of Street Boss prior to his career debut and Who Took the Money won by 4 ½ lengths. He entered off another easy win in a March 6 two-turn state-bred allowance, and is now 3-for-3.

Calhoun and Allied’s owner Chester Thomas teamed to win the Louisiana Derby (G2) in 2019 with By My Standards, and while Who Took the Money isn’t in that class, the latter still had plenty of reason to celebrate.

“We’re having a lot of fun with these Louisiana breds,” Thomas said. “You’ve got to give it to Gabe, what a heart, he rode a wonderful race. What can you say, Bret and everyone has done a great job.”