NEW YORK — At least War Pass delivered a performance worthy of a shot at the Kentucky Derby.
Tale of Ekati caught a tiring War Pass in the final strides for a half-length victory in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on Saturday.
The loss was the second straight for the one-time Derby favorite, but it might be good enough to earn the 2-year-old champion a trip to Churchill Downs on May 3.
Tale of Ekati is on his way after finishing the 11/8-mile race in 1:52.35.
"We're ready to go on to Kentucky," said trainer Barclay Tagg, who won the 2003 Derby with Funny Cide. "He's a gem."
Unlike the Tampa Bay Derby on March 15, when War Pass was restless in the gate, bumped at the start and finished last, the 3-year-old colt trained by Nick Zito broke sharply and went right to the lead. Zito said War Pass would be shipped to Kentucky, but his Derby status would be evaluated over the next month.
"It is certainly one day at a time with this horse," Zito said. "If he has a good month, we'll see if we can make the Derby."
Santa Anita Derby: Colonel John added to his credentials as the West Coast's top 3-year-old by winning the 11/8-mile race in Arcadia, Calif., in 1:48.16. Colonel John, which has won three of five starts and was second in the other two, passed Bob Black Jack near the wire. El Gato Malo, the 3-2 favorite, finished fifth.
Illinois Derby: Recapture the Glory beat Golden Spikes by 4 lengths and completed the 11/8-mile dirt course at Hawthorne Race Course in Cicero in 1:49.01. Previously unbeaten Denis of Cork, the 2-1 favorite, was a distant fifth.
Florida Cup Day
OLDSMAR — Leading rider Daniel Centeno won three $85,000 stakes and four races overall to set a meet purse earnings record on Florida Cup Day at Tampa Bay Downs.
Centeno's stakes wins came with Soldier's Dancer in the Turf Classic, Bayou's Lassie in the Turf Distaff and Repenting in the Sophomore. He also captured an allowance race with Rhapsodysfootsteps.
Overall for the day, Centeno won $221,348, raising his meet total to $1,815,672 and surpassing the record of $1,667,752 he set last year. Centeno also moved within four of tying his meet win record of 125, also established last season.
Repenting set a stakes record with a 7-furlong time of 1:22.79 on the main track.
Other stakes winners: El Sultry Sun (ridden by Jose Velez) in the Sophomore Turf, Moonshine Alice (Andrew Ramgeet) in the Sophomore Fillies and Blue Pepsi Lodge (Wesley Henry) in the Sprint.
Blue Pepsi Lodge won by a neck over Lookinforthesecret, who suffered his first loss of the meet in six starts.
Derby Lane: McAllister Kennels' Flyin Bridgeport became the third greyhound in 49 years to successfully defend his title in the $100,000 Distance Classic, rallying past Castle Princess for a 4½-length victory. It was the third stakes win for the Barbara McAllister trainee. He earned $32,000 for owner Vince Berland. The remaining order of finish: Greys Blak Smith, Kay Buffalo Bill, Greys Touch Gold, Ww Waffle Crisp, Designer Angel and Hallo Arouser.
Times correspondent Don Jensen contributed to this report.