Departing won the third derby of his career on Saturday at Louisiana Downs, when he cruised to a four-length win over Ruler of Love in the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby.
He won the 1 1/8-mile race in hand, one start after taking the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby, and three starts removed from his win in the Grade 3 Illinois Derby.
The Super Derby was the richest race on a card of six stakes worth a cumulative $950,000.
Departing was the 1-5 favorite on the strength of his 8¾-length romp in the West Virginia Derby. He did not disappoint.
Departing ($2.60) settled in fourth after breaking from the widest post, as Ruler of Love took the field through an opening quarter in 23.76 seconds, a half-mile in 49.29, and six furlongs in 1:13.35. Departing advanced on the final turn, joined the leaders at the top of the stretch, and went on to cover the distance on a track rated fast in 1:50.08.
“Nice horse,” said winning rider Robby Albarado. “I loved the outside post with him in the short field. I got to dictate where I wanted to be in the race. They went a little slower than I anticipated. I thought they’d go quicker, but it was kind of a pedestrian pace on the backside.
“He was in my hands the whole race. I was very confident, and he came home fast. He came home nice. He’s such a nice horse.”
The win was one of four on the day for Albarado, among them the $100,000 River Cities.
Al Stall Jr. trains Departing, and the Super Derby victory was his third in the race, a record for trainers. He also took the race in 2008 with My Pal Charlie and in 2010 with Apart. It’s a special accomplishment for Stall, who is a native of Louisiana.
“This track, I’ve come to it literally since Day One,” he said.
Stall trains Departing for the partnership of Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider. Dilschneider previously won the Super Derby with Apart, and also in partnership with Claiborne in 1998, with Arch.
Albarado previously won the Super Derby in 2006 with Strong Contender.
Stall said next-race plans are to be determined for Departing. The horse has now won 6 of 8 starts and $1,379,500. He is a gelding by War Front.
The remaining order of finish in the Super Derby was Cameo Appearance in third, followed by Treasury Bill, Runaway Stephen, Bashaar, and Holiday Mischief.
The Super Derby was the final leg of a $100,000 guaranteed pick four that paid $110.