Silver Medallion Gives Baze Another Victory In El Camino Real Derby

Silver Medallion Gives Baze Another Victory In El Camino Real Derby

     Jockey Russell Baze owns the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby.

     Baze won Northern California’s Triple Crown prep race for the third straight year when he guided Silver Medallion to a 1 1/4-length victory over Jakesam in the $200,000 race for 3-year-olds Saturday at Golden Gate Fields.  Positive Response finished third.

     Baze has won the El Camino Real Derby six of the past seven years and eight times in the 30-year history of the race.

     Silver Medallion, the first horse from the powerful Steve Asmussen barn to race at Golden Gate Fields, rallied from fourth in a field of six to earn his second straight stakes win.  Silver Medallion was coming off a victory in the Eddie Logan Stakes on the turf at Santa Anita.

     Silver Medallion, a Kentucky-bred son of Badge of Silver, won the 1 1/8-mile El Camino Real Derby in a good 1:50.45 and paid $15.00 as the third betting choice.  Purchased as a yearling for $150,000, Silver Medallion earned $120,000 Saturday and has made $212,904 in six career starts for owner Michael J. Ryan.  

     “He’s a nice little horse to ride,” said Baze of Silver Medallion.  “He’s real manageable.  This horse made a nice, long, sustained move.”

      Silver Medallion moved up powerfully on the far turn to draw even with leaders Jakesam and Comma to the Top at the top of the stretch.  Silver Medallion and Comma to the Top brushed at the head of the lane and then Silver Medallion pulled away from his competition in the final furlong.  

     Silver Medallion’s victory in the El Camino Real Derby keeps the colt eligible for the “Preakness 5.5” bonus ($5 million for Ryan, $500,000 for Asmussen), which Silver Medallion will earn if he goes on to win the Santa Anita Derby on April 9 and the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 21.  The “Preakness 5.5” was created by MI Developments Inc., which owns Golden Gate Fields, Santa Anita and Pimlico.

     “I got up to Comma to the Top and he didn’t really answer the challenge,” said Baze.  “He let us go right by.  I was surprised.”

     Comma to the Top, winner of the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity on Dec. 18, was making his first start of the year.  The 1-to-2 favorite under jockey Corey Nakatani, Comma to the Top weakened in the final sixteenth of a mile to finish fourth.

     “On the far turn I wouldn’t have traded places with anyone,” said Nakatani.  “But then everything changed.  I let him drift out to where I thought the best part of the track was.  He just didn’t finish.  I think the layoff might have had something to do with it.  Hopefully this race will help him move forward.”

     Positive Response, winner of the Gold Rush Stakes and California Derby at Golden Gate Fields, went off as the 5-to-2 second choice in the betting under jockey Julien Couton.  

    “He was a little flat,” said Couton of Positive Response.  “Usually he’s more aggressive on the far turn.  On the far turn today I thought we were going to run last.  He just ran even.  Today he was a little bit too calm.”

     Racing resumes at Golden Gate Fields Sunday.  Post time is 12:45 p.m. and the track is offering $1 general parking, $1 general admission, $1 hot dogs, $1 beers, and $1 sodas.