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Hero of Order Pulls Off $220 Upset in 99th Louisiana Derby
By Graham Ross, Staff Writer
NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, April 01, 2012) – Gennadi Dorochenko, the diminutive Russian-born owner-trainer with a grip of iron and a tireless work ethic, proved that hard labor pays off by winning Sunday’s 99th running of the $1 million Louisiana Derby, richest race of the Crescent City season, with the biggest win payoff in the history of the showcase race as well as the largest win price of the 2011-2012 season at Fair Grounds.
Hero of Order, a 3-year-old son of Sharp Humor owned by Dorochenko’s Raut LLC, was the 53-year-old Russian’s armor-bearer, earning the Louisiana track’s highest honor in its nine-furlong centerpiece event, with New Orleans-born 46-year-old veteran jockey Eddie Martin Jr. in the irons.
Speaking in his usual delightfully fractured version of English, Dorochenko said, “You see, I brought not expensive horses, but I make these horses expensive.”
Referring to his jockey, Dorochenko said, “We run horses together, Eddie and me. I told him exactly what he wants to do, he do it and he wins. Eddie is best jockey. We are around horses together. I give him chance. A lot of jockeys have ridden him but he do exactly what I tell him, he wins.”
After prompting the early pace, Hero of Order took command approaching the stretch, drew clear briefly and then withstood the late run of Brereton Jones’s Mark Valeski, regarded as the stronger half of the Jones-owned Larry Jones-trained coupling that also included Fair Grounds’ Grade III Lecomte winner Mr. Bowling.
Hero of Order returned mammoth mutuels of $220.80, $79.20 and $25.40 and vaulted his career earnings to $657,277 from $57,277 by taking down the $600,000 winner’s share of the purse with the second win of his career in 14 lifetime starts.
“My horse broke running,” said Martin. “I had the nine horse (Mike Munna’s Comisky’s Humor) as my target. Once I got the lead I gave my horse a little breather. He was getting a little tired late but he hung in there.
“Winning the Louisiana Derby is awesome for me right here in my home town,” said Martin. “I’ve never won it before, but I’ve won all the other three big graded races here. Come to think of it, I may be the only New Orleans-born jockey to win all four of Fair Grounds’ biggest races. Now, to celebrate, I’m going to go home and get me a big po-boy!”
Mark Valeski, ridden by the meet’s two-time jockey champion Rosie Napravnik, was never far back, challenged the winner in the late stages but could not get by, finishing second by a neck.
“He ran great,” Napravnik said of Mark Valeski. “He tries hard. I still have confidence going forward. (Mark Valeski) is a hard-knocking horse and he ran very well.”
Mark Valeski’s trainer Larry Jones, who won Saturday’s $500,000 Fair Grounds Oaks with Brereton Jones’s filly Believe You Can with Napravnik aboard, was stoic in defeat. “We got a good trip….We’ve been running against (Hero of Order) all meet with something. I guess it was his turn.”
Mr. and Mrs. Larry Williams’ Rousing Sermon got up for third, a length and a half farther back, and returned $4.60 to show.
Comisky’s Humor established early splits of 23.39 and 47.27 before stopping to finish 13th.