Dede McGehee’s Dolphus rebounded off a third-placing against allowance/optional claiming rivals on December 18 to capture his sophomore bow on Sunday in Fair Grounds’ 7TH race.

Once again facing allowance/optional claiming foes, Dolphus found himself in a four-horse field after two of the original six scratched out. Brian Hernandez Jr. was back in the saddle and allowed his chestnut mount to settle on the outside of 3-5 favorite Harlan Punch after breaking a step slow.

Royal Ransom led the way in front with Jensen tugging just to his outside. The compact field maintained their positions through the opening half-mile in :24.82 and :49.46.

Dolphus began moving up entering the turn and drew even with Royal Ransom and Jensen upon hitting the stretch. The Joe Sharp trainee took command and held the re-rallying Jensen by three parts of a length on the wire to finish a mile and 70 yards in 1:44.69 over Fair Grounds’ fast main track.

Dolphus was sent off the 5-2 second choice and returned $7.20. Jensen was 1 1/4 lengths in front of Royal Ransom, who nosed out Harlan Punch for third.

Dolphus gained fame even before stepping hoof to racetrack. The Looking at Lucky colt is out of Lotta Kim, making him a half-brother to 2009 Horse of the Year and Preakness S. (G1)-winning filly Rachel Alexandra.

With such big shoes to fill, Dolphus debuted a winner on November 22 at Fair Grounds while sprinting six furlongs. The Kentucky-bred stretched out to a mile and 70 yards in his next effort on December 18, held the lead at one point, but faded to be four lengths behind the winner in third.

Making his third start in this spot, the colt is now 3-2-0-1 and has earned $54,340.

Screenshot of Dolphus winning at Fair Grounds