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Russian Greek Triumphs In California Derby
Russian Greek duplicated his come-from-behind victory in the Gold Rush Stakes on Dec. 10 by charging from last to first to win the $100,000 California Derby at Golden Gate Fields Saturday.
Russian Greek, ridden by Aaron Gryder, ran down 29-to-1 Cahill Chrome – the longest shot on the tote board – in the final yards to win the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds by one length in 1:45.07. Senor Rain finished third.
The victory was the third in four starts for Russian Greek, a Kentucky-bred son of Giant’s Causeway. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Russian Greek paid $5.40 as the 8-to-5 favorite in a field of seven.
“I think this horse is developing into a pretty nice colt,” said Hollendorfer of Russian Greek, who won his debut at Santa Rosa last summer and then didn’t race for more than three months. “He had little things that bothered him after his first race so I gave him some time off.”
Russian Greek ran fifth in the six-furlong Golden Nugget Stakes in his first start following the layoff and then captured the 1 1/16-mile Gold Rush.
“I never really thought of him as a sprinter anyway, and I think he has proved that out,” said Hollendorfer. “This horse will run in the El Camino Real Derby for sure.”
The Grade 3 $200,000 El Camino Real Derby, Northern California’s top Kentucky Derby prep race, will be run Saturday, Feb. 18, at Golden Gate Fields. The El Camino Real Derby is a 1 1/8-mile race – a sixteenth of a mile longer than the California Derby.
“Being by Giant’s Causeway, more distance certainly isn’t going to hurt him,” said Gryder, who was confident throughout the running of the California Derby. “At the five-eighths pole he was on a beautiful stride and I felt good. He eased up to them and when I got him in the clear at the top of the stretch he extended. I was confident he’d get there because it felt like he was getting stronger and stronger.”
Russian Greek, owned by Olympia Star, Inc., earned $60,000 for the California Derby victory and has made $121,700 in his four races.
Sunday Is Dollar Day – Golden Gate Fields will present a nine-race card Sunday and fans attending the races will enjoy great bargains as general parking, general admission, programs, hot dogs, beers and sodas will cost just $1 each. Gates open at 10 a.m. and the NFL playoff games will be shown on television monitors throughout the facility. Gates open at 10 a.m. and post time is 12:45 p.m.
Bold Chieftain Runs Monday – Golden Gate Fields will present a special racing card Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and the holiday program will feature what is expected to be the final start by Bold Chieftain, a 9-year-old horse who has 18 wins in 46 starts and $1,673,171 in earnings.
Bold Chieftain, who owns 14 stakes victories, will run in the featured third race, a 1 1/16-mile allowance event for older horses. Trained by William J. Morey, Jr., Bold Chieftain will be ridden by his regular pilot, Russell Baze.
First post Monday is 12:45 p.m. Post time for the third race is 1:45 p.m.