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Gold Rush Stakes Champ Russian Greek Among Seven Entered In California Derby
Russian Greek, a promising son of Giant’s Causeway who has two wins in three starts, heads a field of seven 3-year-olds entered in the $100,000 California Derby at Golden Gate Fields.
The California Derby will be run Saturday and all fans attending Cal Derby Day will receive a free Golden Gate Fields hooded sweatshirt. Gates open at 10 a.m. and post time for the nine-race card is 12:45 p.m. The California Derby is the eighth race on the program and will be run at approximately 4:22 p.m.
The field for the 1 1/16-mile California Derby was drawn Wednesday morning and Russian Greek drew post position six. Aaron Gryder will ride Russian Greek, who rallied from last to first to win the Gold Rush Stakes on Dec. 10 at Golden Gate Fields.
The Gold Rush marked the first trip around two turns for Russian Greek, who stumbled at the start of the one-mile contest. Russian Greek overcame his poor beginning with a strong stretch run and captured the Gold Rush by a neck.
Russian Greek is trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer and owned by Olympia Star, Inc., which paid $100,000 for the Kentucky-bred.
The California Derby field also includes two other Gold Rush graduates – Blacky the Bull and Cahill Chrome, who finished third and fourth, respectively. Blacky the Bull finished a troubled eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint at Churchill Downs prior to the Gold Rush.
The California Derby attracted a pair of Southern California-based runners, Hodge and Senor Rain. Hodge finished third in the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue Stakes at Hollywood Park in his most recent start on Nov. 24 and was beaten less than two lengths by winner So Brilliant in the seven-furlong race. Senor Rain ran third in the 1 1/16-mile Real Quiet Stakes at Hollywood Park on Nov. 12 and also owns runner-up finishes in two other stakes – the Afflerbaugh at Fairplex Park and the Indiana Futurity at Hoosier Park.
Rounding out the California Derby field are recent maiden allowance winners Reconstruction and Unveiled Heat.
In post position order, the field for the California Derby is as follows: Senor Rain, Kevin Krigger rides; Hodge, Russell Baze; Unveiled Heat, Abel Cedillo; Cahill Chrome, Juan Hernandez; Blacky the Bull, Kerwin John; Russian Greek, Gryder; and Reconstruction, Frank Alvarado.
The California Derby is a steppingstone race to the Grade 3 $200,000 El Camino Real Derby, which will be run Saturday, Feb. 18, at Golden Gate Fields.