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Dice Flavor Rallies To Win El Camino Real Derby
Dice Flavor, making his stakes debut and his first start on a surface other than turf, rallied from eighth in a field of nine to win the Grade 3 $200,000 El Camino Real Derby by 3 3/4 lengths Saturday at Golden Gate Fields.
Ridden by Jose Valdivia, Jr., Dice Flavor charged through an opening in midstretch and went on to win the 1 1/8-mile test for 3-year-olds in 1:51.45 on Golden Gate Fields’ synthetic Tapeta racing surface. Dismissed at odds of 9-1, Dice Flavor paid $21.00.
Nina’s Dragon, a 13-1 shot ridden by Julien Couton, took second by three-quarters of a length over 25-1 Counting Days and jockey Dennis Carr. The $1 El Camino Real Derby trifecta paid $1,068.90.
The top three betting choices in the El Camino Real Derby – Manando (the 2-1 favorite), Carving (5-2) and Zeewat (5-2) – finished last, fourth and fifth, respectively.
The El Camino Real Derby is part of the new “Road to the Kentucky Derby,” a 36-race series that awards points to the top four finishers in each race. The top 20 point earners nominated to the Triple Crown will get a spot in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby on May 4 at Churchill Downs. Dice Flavor earned 10 points for his victory, Nina’s Dragon earned four points for second, Counting Days two points for third, and Carving one point for fourth.
Dice Flavor is not yet nominated to the Triple Crown but trainer Paddy Gallagher and the horse’s owners, Oda Racing Stables and US Equine, have until March 23 to decide if they want to pay the late nomination fee of $6,000 to make Dice Flavor Triple Crown eligible.
Dice Flavor made $120,000 for his victory in the El Camino Real Derby and impressed Valdivia with his willingness to surge between horses in the stretch.
“He was moving easily all the way,” said Valdivia, who has ridden Dice Flavor in all five of his races. “He made up a lot of ground and made the lead easily. I’ve felt that he had the physical talent, but mentally he’s not all there. But today he impressed me because if he didn’t accelerate right when that hole opened he would have been stuck.”
Gallagher, who is based in Southern California and didn’t make it to Golden Gate Fields because he was running a fever, said he will meet with Dice Flavor’s owners to discuss the horse’s next start.
Dice Flavor is a Kentucky-bred son of Scat Daddy, who is also the sire of 2012 El Camino Real Derby winner Daddy Nose Best. Purchased as a 2-year-old for $100,000, Dice Flavor has earned $160,500 in five races.
Racing continues at Golden Gate Fields with Dollar Day programs Sunday, and Monday, Presidents’ Day. Post time both days is 12:45 p.m. and the track is offering
$1 general parking, $1 general admission, $1 programs, $1 hot dogs, $1 beers and
Golden Gate Fields is a Stronach Group company, North America's leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its Adena Springs operation. The company owns and operates AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology, and XpressBet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service. The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horseracing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America's premier supplier of virtual online horseracing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.