Samurai Looks Sharp Seeking Fifth Win in Row in Hollywood Derby

A field of nine head to the gate in Saturday’s $300,000 Hollywood Derby (G1) at Del Mar. (Photo credit DMTC).

The streaking Sharp Samurai seeks his fifth consecutive victory on Saturday as the 5-2 morning line favorite in the $300,000 Hollywood Derby (G1) at Del Mar.

The Mark Glatt trainee is perfect in four starts with jockey Gary Stevens in the irons, winning the Twilight Derby (G2) at Santa Anita in his last outing.

He takes on eight foes in the 1 1/8-mile turf event, the final Grade 1 race on turf restricted to three-year-olds. Six in the field exit the Twilight Derby including runner up Big Score (4-1) and third place finisher Bowies Hero (6-1).

One of the newcomers to Southern California is the Bill Mott trained Mo Town (3-1) who made his turf debut a winning one, trouncing second level optional claimers at Belmont Park and earning a 102 Beyer Speed Figure.

The supporting features on Saturday’s card at Del Mar are the $100,000 Native Diver (G3) and the and the $100,000 Jimmy Durante (G3).

The Native Diver drew a field of seven led by Top of the Game (5-2), winner of the Comma To The Top in his last outing, producing a career top Beyer Speed Figure of 104.

The Jimmy Durante drew a field of 13 juvenile fillies that will go one mile on turf. Fatale Bere drew the 13 post and was installed as the 4-1 morning line favorite. The filly was fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) in her last outing.

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Let’s head out to Del Mar for Saturday’s featured race of the day:

Del Mar Race 7 The Hollywood Derby (G1) Post time 3:30 PT

4 Sharp Samurai   5-2

3 Channel Maker   5-1

9 Big Score   4-1

7 Mo Town   3-1

Sharp Samurai comes into the race riding a four-race winning streak including wins in the La Jolla ‘Cap (G3) and Del Mar Derby (G2) over the turf here. Last out the gelding mixed it up early while down along the inside and drew clear late to win the Twilight Derby (G2) at Santa Anita over five foes he faces again here. The Glatt trainee has developed into one of the top three-year-olds on turf since the switch to Hall of fame jockey Gary Stevens. He will likely be sitting farther off the pace here, but he is sharp and can win right back.

Channel Maker was outrun early and made a mild late bid to finish fourth last out in the Twilight Derby at 7-1. The gelding won the Breeders at Woodbine three back going 1 ½ miles and then took on older in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) where he was sixth at 58-1. He should be tighter here and Castellano is in to ride this guy for the Mott barn. He must make up nearly four lengths on our top pick which may be tough but should be closer to the front here and may end up a decent price in this spot.

Big Score also exits the Twilight Derby where he stalked the early pace and rallied for the runner up spot, beaten 2 ¾ lengths. He was second in the Del Mar Derby two back, coming up just a half length short of our top pick. His last win came in the Transylvania (G3) at Keeneland at the spring meeting at 1 1/16 miles over good ground. The colt has landed in the exacta in seven of his 10 starts and should be in the mix again here.

Wagering:

WIN: #4 to win at 2-1 or better.

EXACTA: 3,4 / 3,4,7,9

TRIFECTA: 3,4 / 3,4,7,9 / 3,4,6,7,9