Full Field of 12 Entered In $100,000 California Derby

Full Field of 12 Entered In $100,000 California Derby

     Entries for the California Derby were taken Wednesday at Golden Gate Fields and the $100,000 race for 3-year-olds attracted a full field of 12.

     The California Derby will be run Saturday and fans attending Golden Gate Fields with a paid admission will receive a free 70th anniversary sweatshirt.  Grandstand and club house gates open at 10 a.m.; the Turf Club at 11 a.m.  Post time is 12:45 p.m.  

     The California Derby is the seventh race on a nine-race program and will be run at approximately 3:52 p.m.  The 1 1/16-mile test serves as a steppingstone to the Grade 3 $200,000 El Camino Real Derby, which will be run Saturday, Feb. 12, at Golden Gate Fields.

     The field for the California Derby, in post position order and with rider assignments, is as follows: Dancing At Dark, Russell Baze; The Great Caper, Omar Figueroa; Zayda, Chad Schvaneveldt; Bluegrass Reward, Juan Hernandez; Rule He Must, David Lopez; Northern Indy, Inoel Beato; Jakesam, Frank Alvarado; Mr. Candy Bar, Hector Romero; Mazarron, Francisco Duran; Cut Fastball, Catalino Martinez; Positive Response, Julien Couton; and Grand Maneuver, Leslie Mawing.

     The California Derby lineup is loaded with sharp horses as seven of the 12 entrants are coming off victories.  The horse coming off the biggest win is Positive Response, who romped home by six lengths in the Gold Rush Stakes on Dec. 11 at Golden Gate Fields.

     Positive Response brings a two-race winning streak into the California Derby and has shown great improvement since trainer William E. Morey stretched him out in distance. Positive Response won a one-mile starter allowance race in 1:39.71 on Nov. 10 and then came back to win the one-mile Gold Rush in a much quicker 1:37.75.  The Florida-bred son of Pomeroy led wire-to-wire in both races.

     Positive Response gets the services of a very hot rider in Couton, who won four races last Sunday and is currently tied with Baze for the top spot in Golden Gate Fields jockey standings.  Couton is 1-for-1 with Positive Response as he piloted the gelding to his Gold Rush victory.

     Baze’s mount in the California Derby, Dancing At Dark, is the only other horse in the field boasting a two-race winning streak.  Based in Southern California and hailing from the top barn of trainer John Sadler, Dancing At Dark broke his maiden with a 3 1/4-length victory in a seven-furlong race on Nov. 6 and then came back to post a 2 1/4-length victory in a 6 1/2-furlong starter allowance race on Nov. 27.  Both races were at Hollywood Park.

     The other horses entering the California Derby off a winning effort are Bluegrass Reward, Cut Fastball, Jakesam, The Great Caper, and Zayda.   The Great Caper and Jakesam are both interesting runners.

     The Great Caper has two wins in four career starts and owns a victory over the very talented Comma to the Top, one of early favorites for the Kentucky Derby.  The Great Caper defeated Comma to the Top last May in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden race at Hollywood Park.  Comma to the Top broke his maiden two starts later and closed out 2010 with three straight stakes victories, including a triumph in the $750,000 CashCall Futurity.  

     The Great Caper, who has strictly sprinted for trainer Ed Moger, Jr., will race around two turns for the first time in the California Derby.  

     Jakesam, a Kentucky-bred son of Smoke Glacken, has two victories in five career outings and both wins were laughers.  Jakesam scored by 6 1/4 lengths when he broke his maiden in a 1 1/16-mile race at Hollywood Park in October and tallied by 6 1/2 lengths in a one-mile starter allowance race at Golden Gate Fields on Dec. 30.

      Jakesam is conditioned by Jerry Hollendorfer, the fourth winningest trainer in North American thoroughbred racing history with 5,852 career victories.