|Foyt with driver Carlos Munoz|
NEW CUMBERLAND, W.Va – A.J. Foyt Jr. knows all about winning major auto races, but on Aug. 5 at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in West Virginia the longtime Thoroughbred owner won his biggest horse race ever.
Foyt watched from home as Colonelsdarktemper, a colt he purchased for $35,000 at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October sale, took the lead no one else wanted and kept on going to win the $750,000 West Virginia Derby, the Grade III centerpiece of the Mountaineer racing season.
The race ended up being a family affair. Trainer William “Jinks" Fires is the father-in-law of jockey Jon Court. And though not related, Fires has been training for Foyt – winner of the Indianapolis 500 four times – for about 20 years, and the two are good friends.
"I was under the weather and wish I could have made it to West Virginia, but I watched the race and was really happy to see him win," said Foyt, who fields auto-racing teams under the banner A.J. Foyt Enterprises. “Once he got the lead nobody really went with him and it looked like it was no contest. I’m just really glad for Jinks (Fires) and John (Court). They do a great job. Actually my horses are running better than my race cars."
"I wasn't there but Anthony IV (grandson) said he led all the way and beat the horse that ran second in the Kentucky Derby."
Foyt got $466,300 for the win, that's more than his race cars won all year. The team has struggled with the switch to Chevy and usually run at the back in most IndyCar races but Conor (Daly) ran well at Mid-Ohio and had a good test at Gateway so maybe things are about to turn around.
"He qualified for the Breeder's Cup today so that's probably the next race we'll run."