Cindy's Horse Racing Website Index

2014 Hollywood Derby Day

Victor Espinoza celebrates aboard California Chrome after winning the 2014 Hollywood Derby
Date: 11/29/2014

The feature race on Saturday at Del Mar was the $300,000 Hollywood Derby (G1) for three-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles on the Jimmy Durante turf course. Conditions were excellent as usual at the seaside oval with sunny skies and temperatures in the high 60's for the over 21,000 fans in attendance. As expected, Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1) winner California Chrome was sent off as the 7-10 favorite, making his turf debut after consecutive losses in the Belmont (G1), Pennsylvania Derby (G2), and Breeders' Cup Classic (G1). In to challenge him included 5-2 second choice filly Lexie Lou, winner of the Queen's Plate at Woodbine and the Autumn Miss (G2) at Santa Anita, and 11-2 third choice Sawyer's Hill, second in both the Del Mar Derby (G2) and Twilight Derby (G2).

California Chrome leads down the stretch

Jockey Victor Espinoza sent California Chrome to the lead coming down the chute and into the stretch first time by, getting the opening quarter in 23.56 before Sawyer's Hill ran past him and opened up a 4 length advantage in the clubhouse turn through a half in 46.95, with a long 5 lengths back to Lexie Lou third. On the far turn, California Chrome closed the gap as Sawyer's Hill clicked off 3/4 in a quick 1:11.48. Entering the stretch, California Chrome ran by the tiring Sawyer's Hill and opening up a 2 length lead in midstretch through 1 mile in 1:35.71. Lexie Lou closed willingly late but to no avail and California Chrome cruised past the winning post 2 lengths in front in a time of 1:47.88 on the firm course. It was another length back to 11-1 Talco third.

Pgm  Horse                Jockey        Win  Place  Show
 5   California Chrome  Espinoza       3.40   2 60  2.10
 2   Lexie Lou          Nakatani              3.00  2.60
 1   Talco              Van Dyke                    3.60

Winning Time:  1:47.88

$1 Exacta 5-2                 4.90
$2 Quinella 2-5               5.20
$1 Trifecta 5-2-1            21.00
$1 Superfecta 5-2-1-4        49.90
Results Chart

Left: California Chrome in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Art Sherman said, "I knew he was going to be sharp leaving the gate and I told Victor not to be too far out of it. When he broke really sharp, I said ‘Oh, wow.' But Victor knew what to do when Sawyer's Hill wanted the lead. There was never any point where I was really anxious. I was confident. Royal Ascot wants us to come over to England. They said ‘We'll treat you royally.' And we've got Dubai (World Cup) in March. That's another option. We're going to definitely run him another year."

Right: California Chrome in the paddock. Winning jockey Victor Espinoza said, "That kick at the end, that acceleration. It was just like when he won the (Kentucky) Derby. It all went well today. (Sawyer's Hill) didn't break as fast as I thought he would and my horse went right to the front. I thought the other horse would go, but I was ready for most anything happening there at the beginning. I let the other horse go by going into the first turn and I was happy right where I was. He was going easy. Then when we got to the far turn, he was ready to roll. He just turned it on and I knew we were home. You can see now that grass is no problem. Grass, dirt, synthetic – you name it. This horse likes it and he'll run on it."

Left: Second place finisher Lexie Lou in the post parade. Jockey Corey Nakatani said, "She ran great. She beat them all but one. You've got to tip your cap to the winner. He's a heckuva horse. But my filly is a real runner. She fired it up today."

Right: Third place finisher Talco in the post parade. Jockey Drayden Van Dyke said, "A good race for him and he ran well. The winner, well, what can you say. I guess there was supposed to be a mystery as to whether he could run on the grass. There's no mystery anymore."

Ol' Fashion Gal wins the Jimmy Durante Stakes (G3)

The $150,000 Jimmy Durante Stakes (G3), formerly run as the Miesque at Hollywood Park, featured a field of 11 two-year-old fillies going 1 mile on the turf. Rainha Da Bateria was sent off as the 7-5 favorite off her 9th place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) over 5-2 second choice Bobbi Grace, 3rd in the Surfer Girl Stakes, and 10-1 Conquest Artura, 6th in her debut last out. 29-1 Backstreet Lisa set the pace of 23.12, 48.39, and 1:12.95 while stalked by 58-1 longest shot Devil's Beauty and 22-1 Ol' Fashion Gal. Entering the lane, Backstreet Lisa tired as Ol' Fashion Gal gained the lead through 7/8 in 1:25.35. Rainha Da Bateria, 10th early, put in a strong 4 wide rally but Ol' Fashion Gal held off the favorite by a neck in 1:37.27. It was another 3/4 back to 14-1 Don't Blame Me third.

Results Chart

Left: Ol' Fashion Gal in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Mark Casse said, "Joe (Talamo) rode her just great; he got a perfect trip. I thought this filly's first race was much better than it looked. The next time she got better and today she was even better. Our other filly (Conquest Artura) was good the first time and today she was a nervous wreck. You just never know."

Right: Ol' Fashion Gal in the paddock. Winning jockey Joe Talamo said, "She loves the turf. You can see that. Since they switched her over, she's two for two. She's getting better with each race. I had a perfect trip today. I got over (to the rail) and saved ground all the way. Then there was a little opening on the rail; not a big one, but just big enough. She shot right through there."

Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Rainha da Bateria in the paddock before the race. Jockey Mike Smith said, "I was there with the winner on the turn. (Joe Talamo) had the jump on me and he went inside. I was thinking about following him through, but I thought I'd have a better chance going outside and trying to outkick him through the lane. He saved the ground and got it done."

Right: Third place finisher Don't Blame Me in the post parade. Jockey Tyler Baze said, "I had a nice trip with her and she ran good. She's a nice filly."

Big Cazanova wins the Native Diver Stakes (G3)

Kicking off the stakes trio on Saturday was the $200,000 Native Diver Stakes (G3) for older horses going 1 1/8 miles on Polytrack. Big Cazanova, fifth in the Las Vegas Marathon (G2) last out, was the 2-1 favorite in the field of 7 over 5-2 Blue Tone, winner of the Harry Brubaker but fourth in the Big Bear, and 3-1 Tamarando, second in the California Flag. Jockey Elvis Trujillo sent Big Cazanova to the lead first time by and he set fractions of 23.05, 47.26, and 1:11.73 while as many as 3 lengths in front of 64-1 longest shot Fleet Eagle stalking him second. Entering the lane, Big Cazanova drew off from the rest of the field, getting 1 mile in 1:36.41, and cruising to a 3 1/4 length win over Blue Tone in 1:49.28. It was another 4 1/4 lengths back to 4-1 fourth choice Avanzare third.

Results Chart

Left: Big Cazanova in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Peter Miller said, "When I saw the second split, I felt good. The first split was a little rapid but when I saw :47, we had no excuse from that point. This horse is really fast and he just kind of runs them off their feet. That's the way he runs. Elvis did a great job slowing them down that second quarter and then kicking around the 2 1/2 before they got to him."

Right: Big Cazanova returns after the race. Winning jockey Elvis Trujillo said, "He broke slow on me and I had to send him. But he's such a good horse, I had confidence all the way. I work this horse and I've ridden him and I know what a good horse he is. I had confidence all the way today. This horse is just a winner."

Left: Second place finisher Blue Tone in the paddock before the race. Jockey Kent Desormeaux said, "I'm amazed at those fractions. Seemed to me we were going a whole lot faster than shows on the board. Funny race. The winner breaks slow, he sends him early and he wins. Funny race."

Right: Third place finisher Avanzare in the paddock. Jockey Gary Stevens said, "He ran OK, but he didn't like the kick back. He didn't like it at all."

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