2003 Kentucky Derby Preps El Camino Real Derby and Louisiana Derby
Two more major Kentucky Derby preps this weekend didn't really help to cement any of the top contenders as no favorites won. It did make a stronger case for one lukewarm contender and added a new face to the pack chasing the roses.
On Saturday March 8th at Golden Gate Fields was the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby for a purse of $200,000. In this event Neil Drysdale trainee Ministers Wild Cat was sent off as the 1.30-1 favorite. but it was 4.80-1 third choice Ocean Terrace who stole the show, stalking the early pace of longshot Onebadshark through quick early fractions of 22.73, 45.47, and 1:09.47 before inheriting the lead. Down the stretch Ocean Terrace held off the late charge of Ministers Wild Cat for a 1 1/2 length win in a final time of 1:42.26 for the 1 1/16 mile event. It was another nose back to 3.30-1 second choice Ten Most Wanted. Winning jockey Mike Smith said, "I even waited to go to the lead. I felt I had the leader any time. I actually hit the front a little too soon. A lot of them fall apart the first time around two turns, but he was just the opposite. It was hard to pull him up." He is expected to start next in the April 5th Santa Anita Derby. Chart
Peace Rules proved he could be a serious Triple Crown contender by winning the Louisiana Derby for trainer Bobby Frankel.
The Grade 2 $750,000 Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds on Sunday March 9th was expected to be a two-horse race between the highly regarded 6-5 favorite Badge of Silver and 7-5 second choice Kafwain. As expected, 6-1 shot Funny Cide led the field through the first six furlongs, with fractions of 23.51, 46.74, and 1:10.60. Peace Rules stalked the pacesetter and then collared him at the top of the stretch. Badge of Silver was always in contention, getting up to the leader with a furlong to go but fading late to a disappointing sixth place finish. Peace Rules drew off to win by 2 1/4 lengths over the late-running Kafwain with Funny Cide another length back in third. Making his seasonal debut, Peace Rules finished a 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.67, the fastest time of the meet and only .07 off the stakes record set by Crypto Star in 1997. Winning trainer Bobby Frankel said of Peace Rules, making his first dirt win, "I really didn't think I'd win the race, to be honest with you, but I just wanted to see. We found out he could handle the dirt. He's trained so beautifully on the dirt and that's why we brought him over here." Frankel said his next start will be in the April 12 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. Winning jockey Edgar Prado said, "My horse showed a lot of courage. I really did like the way he galloped out. He wasn't blowing really hard and that's a good indication he could go further. When Badge of Silver came to me on the turn, he really dug in and got after it. I am very happy with his performance." Chart