Filly Among Seven Entrants In California Derby

Filly Among Seven Entrants In California Derby

     Seven 3-year-olds have been entered in the $100,000 California Derby at Golden Gate Fields and the lineup includes the filly Butterfly Soul, who will try to become only the fourth female runner to win the historic race that dates back to 1873.

     The California Derby will be run Saturday and the 1 1/16-mile race serves as a steppingstone to the Grade 3 $200,000 El Camino Real Derby, Northern California’s official Kentucky Derby prep.  The 1 1/8-mile El Camino Real Derby will be run Feb. 16 and 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.  Point totals will determine which horses get into the starting gate for Kentucky Derby on May 4.

     The filly Camilla Urso won the inaugural California Derby in 1873.  In 96 subsequent runnings of the race only two fillies have duplicated Camilla Urso’s feat of beating the boys – Miz Clementine in 1954 and Pike Place Dancer in 1996.

     Butterfly Soul will be a longshot in the California Derby but that’s OK with the filly’s connections, trainer Genaro Vallejo and owner Johnny Taboada.  Vallejo and Taboada scored the biggest upset in the history of the El Camino Real Derby when they won the race in 2008 with 62-1 Autism Awareness, who paid $126 to win.

     All of the horses in the California Derby will be making their 3-year-old debuts. Butterfly Soul won two of five starts as a 2-year-old, including the seven-furlong Phil D. Shepherd Stakes at Fairplex Park at odds of 23-1.  In October at Golden Gate Fields, Butterfly Soul ran second, beaten a neck, in the $100,000 Pike Place Dancer Stakes at odds of 10-1.  The Pike Place Dancer was run at a mile on turf.

     Butterfly Soul will break from post position six in the California Derby and be ridden by jockey Abel Cedillo.

     The California Derby field is headed by multiple stakes-winner Zeewat, who is coming off a 3 1/4-length victory in the one-mile Gold Rush Stakes on Dec. 8.  Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Zeewat also won the six-furlong Cavonnier Juvenile Stakes at Santa Rosa last summer.

      Jockey Russell Baze will ride Zeewat, a $50,000 yearling purchase who has three wins and a third in five starts and $117,700 in earnings.  Zeewat will break from post three.
 
     The California Derby field includes two Southern California-based horses, Tree of Life from the Craig Dollase barn and Will True Up from the Peter Miller stable.

     Tree of Life won the $100,000 Barretts Juvenile, a 6 1/2-furlong race at Fairplex Park, and finished fifth in the Grade 3 Generous Stakes, a one-mile turf contest at Hollywood Park.  Will True Up broke his maiden in a six-furlong maiden allowance race on the turf at Hollywood Park and then finished third in the one-mile Eddie Logan Stakes on a wet-fast main track at Santa Anita.    

     The California Derby lineup also includes Condiment and My Best Bet, the second- and third-place finishers in the Gold Rush Stakes, and the sharp sprinter Wildcat Moon, who has won back-to-back races.
 
     The field for the California Derby, in post position order, is as follows: Will True Up, Francisco Duran rides at 116 pounds; Condiment, Julien Couton, 116; Zeewat, Baze, 122; Wildcat Moon, Kyle Frey, 116; Tree Of Life, Dennis Carr, 119; Butterfly Soul, Abel Cedillo, 114; and My Best Bet, Frank Alvarado, 119.

     Gates open at 10 a.m. Saturday and fans attending the races with a paid admission will receive a free Cal Derby umbrella.  Post time is 12:45 p.m.  The California Derby is the fourth race on a nine-race program and will be run at approximately 2:15 p.m.

     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.