By Michael Hammersly
PHOENIX, Ariz. – Yo Y Me was routing for the first time and hadn’t run in three and a half months. It didn’t matter as the 3-year-old gelded son of Dixie Chatter easily won Saturday’s $48,000 Gene Fleming Breeders’ Derby at Turf Paradise.
The Derby, at 1 1/16 miles on the main track, was the marquee event of Arizona-bred day, which featured four other stakes spotlighting the local product.
Yo Y Me ($3), owned by William Matthews, Lloyd Yothers, and Kevin Eikleberry, and trained by Eikleberry, was making his first start since winning four straight sprints here in the fall/winter, three of them stakes topped off by the Lost in the Fog Juvenile here Dec. 31.
Under Ry Eikleberry, Yo Y Me got a dream trip stalking in third as Rocky’s Show set a decent pace under pressure from Kickenit. Yo Y Me bided his time, pounced into the lane, grabbed the lead and drew off to win easily by 4 1/2 lengths as the 1-2 favorite, leaving no doubt he can handle the distance. Ida Goodest, 20-1 upset winner of the Arizona Stallion Stakes on turf here April 1, rallied for second at 13-1, just ahead of Wolf Bounty, who rallied from last to get third in the field of eight 3-year-olds.
Yo Y Me ran the distance in 1:45.45 while notching his fifth straight win. The winner’s share of $25,250 gives him earnings of $149,765 from five wins in nine starts.