Gustafame Wins with Gusto in the $55,260 Adequan Texas Derby Challenge
Gustafame, under jockey Rodrigo Vallejo, winning the Adequan Texas Derby Challenge at Sam Houston Race Park.

© Coady Photography
Gustafame Wins with Gusto in the $55,260 Adequan Texas Derby Challenge

HOUSTON, TXóMAY 20, 2017óIt was another family affair Saturday afternoon when fastest qualifier, Gustafame returned in impressive fashion in the final of the $55,260 Adequan Texas Derby Challenge. The son of Freighttrain B out of the Dash Ta Fame mare Kensey Ann Fame was bred in Utah by Jim and Louise Padgett.

Owner's Louise and Jim Padgett, jockey Rodrigo Vallejo and trainer Judd Keral accept the Adequan Texas Derby Challenge stakes trophy at Sam Houston Race Park.
© Coady Photography
Gustafame fired fresh off a nine-month layoff on April 29 under jockey Rodrigo Vallejo, winning his 400-yard trial with the top qualifying time. Trainer Judd Kearl was confident that his charge was sitting on a big effort.

"Itís great to see what this horse did today," said Kearl. "The Padgetts are close friends and they raised this colt and sent him to me. He was a big, gangly colt; like a seven foot seventh grader! He matured mentally and physically. We had to do a little surgery on him last year and they gave me time to get him ready for this race."

Kearl reported that Gustafame will head to Ruidoso Downs. He conditioned last yearís All American Derby champion, EC Jet One.

"Judd, Rodrigo and his crew did an excellent job," said Jim Padgett, who was in the winnerís circle with his wife, Louise. "They are second to none for the job they do. As a young horse, he was very aggressive and tested your patience. But once we sent him to Judd, he knew how to handle him."

Vallejo piloted Gustafame to the wire in :19.823 seconds by a two-length margin over longshot A Salty Corona with Luciano Duenez aboard.

Kearl was the conditioner of Bobby W. Myers' homebred BM Casina Royale, last yearís Adequan Texas Derby Challenge winner.

The Padgetts were proud of Gustafame and their son, Jimmy, who is a valued assistant to Kearl. He is in Ruidoso Downs, readying the Kearl string for opening day this Friday.

Sent off as the betting favorite, Gustafame paid $4.60, adding his third win in eight starts. With todayís check of $25,420, the Utah bred has now earned $43,410. He will represent Texas in the $180,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G3) at Prairie Meadows on October 14.

Joel Cantu saddled runner-up A Salty Corona for owner Roberto Resendez. Jorge Haddad bred the Giorgino gelding in Texas from the Corona Cartel mare Corona Rosie. Luciano Duenez rode the sorrel gelding. The $11,052 payday nearly doubled A Salty Corona's earnings total to $21,335.

Third-place finisher Tac My Time is a Tac It Like a Man gelding owned by Marco Ramirez and Gary Harstack. Leon Bard stakes winner of more than $36,000 out of Timer Opener by Mr Eye Opener. Francisco Calderon was aboard last year's Sam Houston Juvenile winner.

Deala Quick, Mystic Daddy, Hawktomatic, Rc The Duke, Trashy Tres, Zoomin Hero and Executive Moment completed the field.