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Positive Response Proves He’s ‘The Best 3-Year-Old At GGF’
French jockey Julien Couton summed things up quite nicely after guiding Positive Response to an impressive victory in the $100,000 California Derby at Golden Gate Fields Saturday.
“He’s definitely the best 3-year-old at Golden Gate Fields,” said Couton of Positive Response, a Florida-bred son of Pomeroy who collected his second straight stakes victory and his third consecutive win at the East Bay racetrack.
Positive Response, who had things all his own way when he scored a front-running victory in the one-mile Gold Rush Stakes on Dec. 11, charged from fifth in a full field of 12 to win the 1 1/16-mile California Derby by 2 3/4 lengths over Jakesam. Bluegrass Reward finished third.
Positive Response is trained by William E. Morey, who owns the gelding in partnership with Ray Pagano, Roger Newman, and Saul Gevertz.
“A lot of people thought he got an easy lead last time (in the Gold Rush) against lesser competition,” said Morey. “I’m so proud he proved he can come from off the pace. He made a major-league move at the three-eighths pole. He made a move into a hot pace and still finished.”
Positive Response surged to the lead on the far turn and maintained a clear advantage through the stretch.
“He was very sharp today and we had a perfect trip,” said Couton. “He broke good and we got in perfect position off the pace. On the backstretch he was moving nice and easy. When we took the lead he kind of waited for something. He needs a little time to get going. When he switches leads, he’s gone. That was a perfect race for him. Now we know he can come from behind.”
Positive Response was timed in 1:44.56 and paid $4.80 as the 7-to-5 favorite. Purchased after his second career start for $75,000 by Morey and his clients, Positive Response earned $60,000 Saturday and has made $116,880 in four starts for the ownership group.
Positive Response will now be pointed for Northern California’s premier Kentucky Derby prep race, the Grade 3 $200,000 El Camino Real Derby, which will be run Saturday, Feb. 12. The El Camino Real Derby is a 1 1/8-mile contest.
“I don’t think the mile and an eighth will be a problem,” said Morey. “At the end, he’s always finishing.”
Racing continues at Golden Gate Fields Sunday and Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Post time both days is 12:45 p.m. Fans attending the races Sunday will be treated to $1 general parking, $1 general admission, $1 programs, $1 hot dogs, $1 beers, and $1 sodas.
GGF NOTES: Jockey Russell Baze sustained a slight neck sprain when he was unseated by Joffe’s Run while warming up the 6-year-old mare prior to the first race Saturday. Joffe’s Run ran off after dislodging Baze and was scratched. Baze went to Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley for precautionary X-rays, which proved negative. Baze could be back riding Sunday.