Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer will fire two bullets -- a fast filly named Lady of Fifty and a stretch-running colt named Russian Greek -- when he takes aim at another victory in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday. The field for the $200,000 contest drew 10 runners to go 1 1/8 miles on the Tapeta all-weather surface.
Hollendorfer has saddled a record five El Camino Real Derby winners and he'll attack the 31st running of the stakes from both angles as he sends out a front-runner in Lady of Fifty and a closer in Russian Greek.
Russian Greek has three wins in four starts, including two stakes victories. The Kentucky-bred son of Giant's Causeway charged from last to win the 1 1/16-mile California Derby in his most recent outing and employed a big stretch kick to win the one-mile Gold Rush Stakes in December. The dark bay colt will keep jockey Aaron Gryder aboard.
Lady of Fifty has been victorious in four of her five career races and swept a series of stakes for young fillies at Golden Gate Fields. The After Market gray lass won the six-furlong Golden Gate Debutante on November 5, the one-mile Corte Madera on December 3 and the 1 1/16-mile California Oaks on January 21. She is trying to become the first filly to win the El Camino Real Derby and will have the services of jockey Russell Baze, who has won the race eight times including six of the past seven years.
Handsome Mike will attempt to upset Hollendorfer's apple cart while returning to a synthetic track for the first time since a seventh in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity closed out his juvenile season. The Doug O'Neill trainee finished second in the Grade 3 Generous Stakes last November going a mile on Hollywood Park's turf, and most recently was fourth in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes at the same distance on the dirt at Santa Anita to open his sophomore campaign. Based at Hollywood, the Scat Daddy colt will be ridden by Corey Nakatani.
Daddy Nose Best, sixth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf and also by Scat Daddy, will be out to make amends for his last start when he finished fifth as the odds-on favorite in the Eddie Logan Stakes, a one-mile turf stakes at Santa Anita on New Year's Eve. Two-time champion jockey Julien Leparoux will fly in from Florida to ride Daddy Nose Best, who will be making his synthetic debut in this spot.
The El Camino Real Derby field also includes Cahill Chrome and Senor Rain. The former, a gelded son of Cahill Road, ran second at odds of 29-1 in the California Derby, beaten just a length by Russian Greek. Trained by Roger Hansen, Cahill Chrome will be ridden by Juan Hernandez.
Senor Rain finished third in the California Derby, the fourth stakes in which he has finished in the money. The El Nino gelding is trained by Peter Miller, who also conditions fellow contender All Squared Away. That Bellamy Road colt was last seen taking a 1 1/16-mile maiden at Golden Gate on January 22. Kevin Krigger will ride Senor Rain while Kerwin John has the call on All Squared Away.
Irish-bred Lucky Chappy, most recently second in the grassy Kittens Joy Stakes at Gulfstream Park; Cal Derby fifth Unveiled Heat; and maiden scorer Rockinarz Recruit complete the El Camino Real Derby field.