A pair of Hall of Famers – trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and jockey Mike Smith – will try to make it consecutive wins in the Grade II Los Alamitos Derby when the promising Kentuckian stretches out for the first time Saturday.
Restricted to 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles, the $350,000-guaranteed Derby is the richest event of the Summer Thoroughbred Festival and is the eighth of nine races. Post time is 2:15 p.m. Appoximate post time for the Derby is 5:45 p.m.
Hollendorfer and Smith combined to win the Los Alamitos Derby with Shared Belief a year ago in the talented gelding's first start on dirt.
In addition to the Derby, Saturday will feature a Shared Belief T-shirt giveaway – one per paid admission while supplies last.
A $610,000 purchase at the Keeneland September sale in 2013, Kentuckian made his graded stakes debut in the Grade III Lazaro Barrera May 10 at Santa Anita.
Dispatched as the even-money favorite for Rick Porter's Fox Hills Farms Inc., the son of Tiznow rolled to a 6 ¼ length win.
The victory in 1:20.97 was the second in three starts for Kentuckian, who finished third in the San Pedro Stakes five weeks after defeating maidens by 11 lengths in his March 7 debut at Golden Gate Fields.
Out of the Unbridled's Song mare Forest Music, the gray, who has earned $85,080, has continued to look sharp in the morning. He worked six furlongs in 1:11 June 25 at Santa Anita, the best of five at the distance.
“He was very impressive last time and it was as easy as it looked,” said Smith. “He's also been training extremely well since that race.''
Gimme Da Lute and Prospect Park, the 1-2 finishers in the Grade III Affirmed June 7 at Santa Anita, both have something Kentuckian lacks – two-turn victories.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert for owner-breeders Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, Gimme Da Lute won the Affirmed by a half-length in his first attempt at 1 1/16 miles.
A son of Midnight Lute and the Proud Citizen mare Casino Gold, Gimme Da Lute has won three of six and earned $247,560.
In his initial race in more than two months, Prospect Park was outfinished after having the lead briefly late as the 3-5 favorite in the Affirmed.
Owned by breeders Pam and Marty Wygod and trained by Cliff Sise, Jr., the Tapit colt out of the Bertrando mare Quiet Romance was a double route winner at Santa Anita, defeating maidens by a neck last Dec. 27 before a 5 ¼ length score in an optional claimer Jan. 30.
The dark bay followed those victories with a second place finish in the Grade II San Felipe, beaten a bit more than one length by Dortmund, then was freshened after finishing fourth in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby. Prospect Park has banked $236,570 in eight races.
Pain and Misery returns to Southern California after a road trip that took him to Sunland Park, Churchill Downs and the Downs at Albuquerque.
After finishing a distant third behind Firing Line in the Grade III Sunland Derby March 22 and second at 27-1 behind Competitive Edge in the Grade III Pat Day Mile May 2, Pain and Misery was a gate-to-wire winner of the Charles Taylor Derby June 6 in New Mexico.
Trained by Henry Dominguez for Black Gold Racing, the Bob and John gelding out of the Running Stag mare Singing Doe has won three of eight and earned $241,030.
Follow Me Crev returns to dirt in his debut for new connections. The gelding was claimed for $50,000 by trainer Vladimir Cerin for owners David and Holly Wilson May 31 after finishing third behind Jazzy Josh and Ernest Shackleton on turf .
A son of Quality Road and the Regal Classic mare Vicki Vallencourt, Follow Me Crev has won once in seven starts with earnings of $34,360. His victory came against $30,000 maidens Jan. 19.
From inside out, the field for the Los Alamitos Derby: Follow Me Crev, Alonso Quinonez rides, 122 pounds; Gimme Da Lute, Martin Garcia, 122; Pain and Misery, Flavien Prat, 122; Kentuckian, Mike Smith, 122 and Prospect Park, Tyler Baze, 122.
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