Rowdy Yates wins $104,200 Riley Allison Derby

Taking a big step on the road to the $700,000 Grade III Sunland Derby, L and N Racing’s Rowdy Yates swept by his rivals on his way to an impressive score in Sunday’s 57th running of the $104,200 Riley Allison Derby at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.

The 3-year-old Oklahoma-bred son of Morning Line was fourth turning for home under Luis Contreras, but was hustled to the outside before running down leader Competitive Idea, passing that one approaching the sixteenth pole before winning by 3 1/2 lengths, racing a mile in 1 minute, 37.29 seconds.

Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, Rowdy Yates was a multiple stakes winner coming into the Riley Allison, having won a pair of state-bred stakes races last fall at his home track Remington Park. Previously, he was victorious in the Ellis Park Juvenile last summer in Kentucky and was a narrow second in the Bashford Manor Stakes at Churchill Downs.

The Riley Allison is a steppingstone race for locally based 3-year-olds, with the February 23rd Mine That Bird Derby and the March 22nd Sunland Derby (Gr. III) still on tap. Asmussen is familiar with the Sunland Derby, having won the race twice, most recently in 2017 with Hence and in 2012 with Daddy Nose Best. Asmussen has also saddled the winner in five runnings of the Mine That Bird Derby, most recently in 2018 with Reride.

The Riley Allison Derby is a prep race for the Mine That Bird Derby and the Sunland Derby.

Rowdy Yates also marks the second consecutive winner for Asmussen in the Riley Allison. Last year, he teamed up with Contreras to guide Nitrous to victory.

Rowdy Yates, sent off as the odds-on favorite at 1-to-2, returned $3 to his winning backers. The $62,520 winner’s share of the purse pads his lifetime earnings to more than $273,000 while earning the fifth win from eight career starts.

Competitive Idea held on for second, completing a popular $9.60 return for $2 exacta players. Arizona Jeremy and Top Draw rounded out the top four finishers.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography