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Kentucky Derby Contenders
|Brother Derek rounds the turn for home in front of A.P. Warrior and Point Determined|
The major Kentucky Derby prep on the west coast is the $750,00 Santa Anita
Derby (G1) and it is one of the more productive prep races on the Triple Crown Trail.
Six horses were entered but with Indy Wildcat scratching the
morning of the race, only five 3-year-old colts went to the starting gate.
Brother Derek was sent off as the 1-2 favorite, coming into this 1 1/8 mile
race off a three-race winning streak, including the Santa Catalina, San
Rafael, and Hollywood Futurity. Under regular rider Alex Solis, Brother Derek
ran as expected, taking the lead immediately and setting brisk early fractions
of 23.60 and 1:11.21 while as many as 3 lengths clear of the pack. With three
furlongs to go, 4-1 second choice A.P. Warrior made a bid but Brother Derek
easily dismissed him drawing off through the stretch to win by 3 1/4 lengths
over 7-2 second choice Point Determined who passed the tiring A.P. Warrior
inside the 1/8 pole. It was a long 14 lengths back from A.P. Warrior to
Sacred Light and Wildfang.
Results Chart from DRF.
|Brother Derek winning the Santa Anita Derby|
Winning jockey Alex Solis said, "This horse is a monster. Just incredible. He keeps impressing me more and more each race he runs. He heard the other couple of horses coming at the quarter-pole, but he drew away from them on his own. I just hand rode him to make sure he knew where to run. I pulled him up rather quickly, but there was no need to do anything different. He is just an amazing horse. We've just got to keep him together. Thinking ahead, he certainly doesn't have to be on the lead. What you saw today was his natural pace, and he came home very nicely."
Winning trainer Dan Hendricks said, "It was super. He just relaxed real well and that's all he needed to do to get the mile and an eighth. I don't think distance now is any question. We just have to keep doing what he's been doing and crank him up for the first Saturday in May." When asked if Brother Derek could rate off the pace in the Kentucky Derby, Hendricks said, "I think he can sit off the pace. We'll just have to see. The Derby is what the Derby is, 20 horses, it's THE horse race and we're heading there and we're going to have fun with it."
The $500,000 Illinois Derby (G2) at Hawthorne Race Course saw ten Triple Crown
Winning jockey Kent Desormeaux said, "This horse improved leaps and bounds since the last time I rode him. As we rounded the first turn, he had already pricked his ears, both his antennae were up. He was gathering the horses in front of him wanting to go after them. I asked him gingerly not to and he was attentive. Michael has done a great job with this horse. He's been well trained." Asked about the Kentucky Derby, he said, "I'll tell you right now, the Belmont would probably be the easiest thing for this horse. He's going to enjoy distance. The mile and a quarter of the Kentucky Derby is the classic distance and I think it's right between his eyes."
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