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El Camino Real Derby Entrants Bring Varied Credentials Into Race
The field for the $200,000 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields includes the California Derby winner (Russian Greek), two horses that competed in the Breeders’ Cup last November at Churchill Downs, (Daddy Nose Best and Lucky Chappy), and a filly with a three-stakes winning streak (Lady of Fifty).
The El Camino Real Derby will have its 31st running Saturday and post time for the feature, the eighth race on a nine-race program, is 4:43 p.m. Fans attending Golden Gate Fields will receive a free El Camino Real Derby shirt that features the silks of the 30 winners of the race.
A look at the 10 entrants, listed in order of their rating on the morning line, follows.
Russian Greek (5-to-2 morning line favorite)…Hopes to complete a stakes hat trick in the El Camino Real Derby…Captured the one-mile Gold Rush Stakes in his final start as a 2-year-old and opened his 3-year-old season with a victory in the 1 1/16-mile California Derby…Employed a strong stretch kick to win both races…Broke his maiden at first asking in a six-furlong maiden allowance race at Santa Rosa last summer… Suffered his lone loss in his second outing when, after a layoff of more than three months, he finished fifth in the six-furlong Golden Nugget Stakes…Is a Kentucky-bred colt by Giant’s Causeway, the European Horse of the Year in 2000 and the leading sire in North America in 2009 and 2010….Was purchased as a weanling for $100,000 by Mikhail Yanakov’s Olympia Star Inc. of Hallandale, Florida…Is trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, who has saddled a record five El Camino Real Derby winners…Hollendorfer ranks fourth on the all-time win list for trainers with 6,121 career victories and is seventh on the all-time earnings list with $127,301,394… Will be ridden by jockey Aaron Gryder, who won the world’s richest horse race, the $6 million Dubai World Cup, with Well Armed in 2009.
Lucky Chappy (7-to-2)…Irish-bred-bred began his racing career in Italy last spring and won two of three starts, including a stakes, before coming to the U.S. and joining the barn of Graham Motion…Has raced strictly in turf stakes in the U.S. and has hit the board in all three outings…He finished third in the Grade 3 Bourbon at Keeneland, fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs, and second in the Kittens Joy at Gulfstream Park…Got off to a slow start in both the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and the Kittens Joy…Will make his West Coast debut and race on a synthetic surface for the first time in the El Camino Real Derby...Bay colt by High Chaparral is owned by Team Valor International, the powerful racing syndicate that won the 2011 Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom….Will be ridden by East Coast-based Alan Garcia, who won the 2008 Belmont Stakes with 38-to-1 longshot Da’ Tara ($79.00).
Daddy Nose Best (9-to-2)…Opens his 3-year-old campaign in the El Camino Real Derby after a busy 2-year-old season in which he made eight starts, won two races and finished a troubled sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs… Bounced back from the rough trip in the Breeders’ Cup to win a one-mile allowance race on the turf at Churchill…Made his West Coast debut in the Eddie Logan Stakes at Santa Anita on Dec. 31 and finished fifth as the 4-to-5 favorite in the one-mile turf contest… Will try to make it back-to-back El Camino Real Derby wins for trainer Steve Asmussen, who won the race last year with Silver Medallion, the first horse he ever started at Golden Gate Fields…Is owned by Cathy and Bob Zollars…Will be piloted by East Coast-based riding star Julien Leparoux, one of only four jockeys in racing history to win Eclipse Awards as champion apprentice (2006) and champion journeyman (2009).
Lady of Fifty (5-to-1)…Will try to become the first filly to win the El Camino Real Derby…Tackles the boys after sweeping Golden Gate Fields’ series of stakes races for young fillies – the Golden Gate Debutante, Corte Madera, and California Oaks…Has four wins and a third in five career starts, the lone defeat coming in her first race following a two-month layoff…Has recorded wins at six furlongs (twice), one mile, and 1 1/16-miles….A Kentucky-bred daughter of After Market, she was purchased as a yearling for $40,000… Has made $154,170 in her five trips to the starting gate….Is trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, who has saddled a record five El Camino Real Derby winners…Is owned in partnership by Hollendorfer and George Todaro, who was part of the ownership group that won the 2007 El Camino Real Derby with Bwana Bull….Will be ridden by Hall of Famer Russell Baze, who has won the El Camino Real Derby eight times, including six of the past seven years…Baze is thoroughbred racing’s all-time win leader with 11,479 career victories and ranks 15th in earnings with $177,563,033.
Handsome Mike (6-to-1)…Will be making his fourth straight stakes appearance… Finished second in the Grade 3 Generous Stakes on the turf at Hollywood Park in his stakes debut…Had the lead in midstretch in the $750,000 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood before tiring a bit to finish seventh, beaten less than three lengths by winner Liaison…Most recently finished fourth in the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita…Races for longtime owner/breeder J. Paul Reddam, who has won two Breeders’ Cup events – the 2004 Juvenile with Wilko and the 2006 Turf with Irish-bred Red Rocks…Is conditioned by Doug O’Neill, who consistently ranks among the leading trainers in Southern California…Will be ridden by the veteran Corey Nakatani, who ranks 11th on the all-time earnings list for jockeys with more than $202 million in purse money won.
Cahill Chrome (10-to-1)…Surged to the lead in midstretch in the California Derby and appeared headed to a 29-to-1 upset before being overhauled by 8-to-5 favorite Russian Greek in the final yards… Finished a troubled fourth (lugged out first turn, had to check approaching the stretch) in the Gold Rush Stakes prior to big effort in Cal Derby…Went into the Gold Rush with a three-race winning streak that began with a maiden score in a six-furlong dash at the Big Fresno Fair and continued with victories in one-mile races at Golden Gate Fields…Has finished in the money in seven of his 10 career starts…Gelded son of Cahill Road was bred in California and is trained by Roger Hansen….Is owned by 92-year-old Kjell H. Qvale of San Francisco…Qvale was part owner of Golden Gate Fields for three decades and is a former president of the track…Will have the services of jockey Juan Hernandez, who currently ranks among the top five riders at Golden Gate Fields.
Senor Rain (12-to-1)…Shipped in from Hollywood Park to finish third in the California Derby…Has competed in five stakes events and has finished in the money in four of them….He finished second in the C.B. Afflerbaugh Stakes at Fairplex Park and the Indiana Futurity at Hoosier Park, and third in the Real Quiet Stakes at Hollywood Park and the California Derby at Golden Gate Fields… Indiana-bred is owned by brothers Gary and Cecil Barber…Is trained by Peter Miller, who will also start All Squared Away in the El Camino Real Derby…Will be ridden by Kevin Krigger, who won four consecutive stakes races during the 2011 fall meeting at Golden Gate Fields.
Unveiled Heat (20-to-1)…Was in the thick of the battle in the California Derby until midstretch and then weakened a bit and finished fifth…Broke his maiden in his eighth career start, winning a 1 1/16-mile turf race at Golden Gate Fields by 2 1/2 lengths… Went from the maiden ranks right into the Cal Derby…Chestnut colt by Unusual Heat was bred in California by his owners, Larry and Marianne Williams…Is trained by Bay Area mainstay Steve Specht, who won the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic with McCann’s Mojave in 2007 at Gulfstream Park…Will be ridden by Frank Alvarado, who became the first Bay Area-based jockey to win a $1 million race when he guided McCann’s Mohave to his 33-1 shocker in the Sunshine Millions Classic…Alvarado is gunning for his second El Camino Real Derby victory as he won the race in 2000 with Remember Sheikh.
Rockinarz Recruit (20-to-1)...Will be making his first start around two turns in the El Camino Real Derby as all four of his races have been at six furlongs…Broke his maiden impressively in his third start when he scored by five lengths in a swift 1:09.64… Followed up his big maiden win with a road trip to Santa Anita, where he finished third in an allowance sprint…Gelded son of Our New Recruit was bred in California and is owned by Anthony and Melanie Lema…Is trained by Lloyd Mason, who has won with 10 of his 37 starters at the 2011-2012 winter/spring meeting….Will be ridden by jockey Abel Cedillo, who will be competing in the El Camino Real Derby for the first time.
All Squared Away (20-to-1)…Will try to go from maiden winner to stakes winner…Is based at Hollywood Park but shipped to Golden Gate Fields to break his maiden in a 1 1/16-mile maiden allowance race on Jan. 22…Recorded maiden victory while making his first start around two turns…Has finished in the money in four of his five races…Is owned by Altamira Racing Stable and Wire to Wire Racing, Inc…Is trained by Peter Miller, who will also start Senor Rain in the El Camino Real Derby… Will be ridden by Kerwin John, who will be competing in his first El Camino Real Derby.