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Sadler Seeking Back-To-Back Victories In California Derby
John Sadler, one of the leading trainers in Southern California, will try to win the $100,000 California Derby at Golden Gate Fields for the second straight year when he sends out Dancing At Dark in the 1 1/16-mile feature for 3-year-olds Saturday.
Sadler won the 2010 edition of the California Derby with Ranger Heartley, who scored a front-running victory under jockey Julio Garcia. Ranger Heartley went off at odds of just under 6-to-1 and paid $13.80 after defeating 3-to-5 favorite Connemara by three-quarters of a length.
Dancing At Dark is the 4-to-1 second choice on the morning line for Saturday’s 96th running of the California Derby. The 5-to-2 morning line favorite is Positive Response, who is coming off a six-length victory in the Gold Rush Stakes on Dec. 11.
Dancing At Dark enters the California Derby with a two-race winning streak, the victories coming in sprints at Hollywood Park. Jockey Russell Baze will ride Dancing At Dark Saturday when the Florida-bred son of Black Mambo tries two turns for the first time in his career.
Baze will be trying to win the California Derby for the sixth time in his Hall of Fame career. Baze collected his first win in the feature in 1981 with Always A Cinch ($6.20) and then went 17 years without a victory in the race. Baze ended the drought with a win aboard Red Sky’s ($4.00) in 1999.
Baze scored his other California Derby victories with Trieste’s Honor ($6.40) in 2004, Cause to Believe ($3.00) in 2006, and Chocolate Candy ($3.80) in 2009.
The only other jockey in Saturday’s California Derby with a previous victory in the race is David Lopez, who won the feature in 2007 aboard the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained Bwana Bull ($6.60). Lopez has the call on long shot Rule He Must (15-to-1) Saturday.
Hollendorfer, who will send out Jakesam (5-to-1) Saturday, has won the California Derby four times and is the most prolific trainer in the history of the race. Hollendorfer’s other California Derby champions were Pike Place Dancer ($3.60) in 1996, Cause to Believe, and Chocolate Candy.
William E. Morey, who trains favored Positive Response, is seeking his first victory in the California Derby, as are the following trainers: Ed Moger, Jr. (who conditions The Great Caper, 20-to-1), Blaine Wright (Zayda, 20-to-1), Steve Miyadi (Bluegrass Reward, 10-to-1), Roger Hansen (Rule He Must, 15-to-1), O. J. Jauregui (Northern Indy, 8-to-1, and Mr. Candy Bar, 20-to-1), Adam Kitchingman (Mazarron, 12-to-1), Terry Knight (Cut Fastball, 20-to-1), and Danny Velasquez (Grand Maneuver, 8-to-1).
The California Derby is the seventh race and on a nine-race card and post time for the feature is 3:52 p.m. First post is 12:45 p.m. and fans attending Golden Gate Fields with a paid admission will receive a free 70th anniversary sweatshirt.