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The horses that ran one-two-three in the California Derby on January 16 will meet again Saturday in the $150,000 El Camino Real Derby (G3) at Golden Gate Fields. Ten three-year-olds are signed up for the 29th running of Northern California's premier steppingstone to the Triple Crown events.
The Craig Family Trust's homebred SIDNEY'S CANDY (Candy Ride [Arg]) moved to the front soon after the gates opened on Monday's $150,000 San Vicente S. (G2) at Santa Anita and was never headed en route to a 4 1/4-length victory under jockey Joe Talamo.
"I was confident he'd bounce back with a good effort today," Talamo said. "(Trainer) John (Sadler) told me to just get a good start and go from there. At the three-eighths I just kind of clucked to him and he got right into the bridle.
With frigid weather conditions affecting the Hot Springs, Arkansas, region, Oaklawn Park was forced to cancel live racing after the 4TH race on Monday. As a result, the eagerly-anticipated feature, the $250,000 Southwest S. (G3), has been postponed to Saturday.
Oaklawn officials noted Monday that severe winds, and the concomitant bitter wind chill, created potentially hazardous racetrack conditions.
The one-mile Southwest will now be redrawn. Entries will be taken on Thursday, and the Southwest will headline the 10-race card set for Saturday.
Saturday's $300,000 Risen Star S. (G2) at Fair Grounds has the look of a regional showdown. Florida invaders DISCREETLY MINE (Mineshaft), DROSSELMEYER (Distorted Humor) and TEMPTED TO TAPIT (Tapit) are scheduled to descend upon New Orleans to test the best of the locally-based three-year-olds, including Lecomte S. (G3) hero RON THE GREEK (Full Mandate) and impressive allowance/optional claiming winners STAY PUT (Broken Vow) and HOTEP (A.P. Indy).
MAXIMUS RULER (Roman Ruler), runner-up behind Ron the Greek (Full Mandate) in the January 23 Lecomte S. (G3) at Fair Grounds, will not run in Saturday's Risen Star S. (G2) after coming up with a slight injury following a breeze Sunday morning at the New Orleans oval.
"He didn't want to place his right hind foot down toe to heel when he was being walked yesterday afternoon," trainer Clark Hanna said Monday morning. "Usually, he walks very forwardly, but when we took his shoe off his foot seemed to be a little sensitive.
WEST / CALIFORNIA-BRED CARACORTADO CONTINUES ROLL IN ROBERT B. LEWIS, JOINS KENTUCKY DERBY PICTURE
Unbeaten Caracortado, a California-bred gelding who scored his first victory in a race for $40,000 claiming horses at Fairplex, knocked off some 3-year-old rivals with bigger reputations with an easy victory in Saturday’s rain-delayed $150,000-added Robert B. Lewis Stakes (Grade II) over the synthetic Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita.
Fans of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) made two things resoundingly clear in the first of Churchill Downs’ three Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”): there is no definitive favorite on the road to the big race on the first Saturday in May and it is possible that the winner of this year’s 136th renewal of American’s Greatest Race is not yet on the radar screen.
Lecomte S. (G3) runner-up MAXIMUS RULER (Roman Ruler), prepping for Saturday's Risen Star S. (G2), traveled five furlongs in 1:02 3/5 on a fast track at Fair Grounds Sunday morning.
Trainer Clark Hanna hopes that the colt, who found himself leading through fast fractions in the Lecomte, will enjoy a more favorable stalking set-up in the Risen Star.
"The idea is to get him to relax," Hanna explained after the Sunday work, "so we broke him off at the half-mile pole this morning, let him go to the seven-eighths and then let him gallop out the rest of the way on his own.
At Gulfstream Park on Sunday, multiple Grade 2 hero BUDDY'S SAINT (Saint Liam) drilled six furlongs in 1:13 2/5 on the fast track in his final major move for Saturday's Fountain of Youth S. (G2). The Bruce Levine trainee posted fractions of :12 3/5, :25 2/5 and :49 2/5.
"He worked really good, but didn't go super fast," Levine said of the colt, who had blitzed six furlongs in a bullet 1:12 in his last work on February 7.
Juvenile champion LOOKIN AT LUCKY (Smart Strike) continued his preparations on Sunday for his three-year-old bow in the March 13 San Felipe S. (G2), working four furlongs in company with El Martillo (Tiznow) over the Pro-Ride at Santa Anita.
The Bob Baffert charge was last seen taking the CashCall Futurity (G1) and covered a half-mile in :48 1/5 under Martin Garcia. El Martillo was clocked in :48 3/5.
"Nice" is how Baffert described the move, while Garcia said he went "really good."