Victor Espinoza celebrates aboard California Chrome after winning the 2014 Hollywood Derby
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
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 49.90Results 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)
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)
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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