A field of 10 three-year-old turfers will line up in Sunday’s $250,000 Hollywood Derby (G1) at Betfair Hollywood Park, with longshot Gervinho looking as if he has an upset chance.
The Carla Gaines trainee is 8-1 on the morning line and is coming off a third place finish in the Twilight Derby (G2) at Santa Anita.
The Mike Maker trained Admiral Kitten is the 5-2 morning line favorite. The colt has won three of his nine career starts including taking the Secretariat (G1) at Arlington Park back in August. The colt was a game second last out in the Jamaica (G1) at Belmont Park.
The Hollywood Derby is one of two Grade 1 races to be run on Sunday. The co-feature is the $250,000 Matriarch for fillies and mares going one mile on the turf.
After Sunday’s stakes there are just two Grade 1 races left at the track, which will be closing on Dec. 22. The $500,000 Hollywood Starlet on Dec. 7 and the $750,000 CashCall Futurity close out the Grade 1 action at the meeting.
The Matriarch drew a solid field of nine, eight that are graded stakes winners led by Rodeo Drive (G1) winner Tiz Flirtatious and Queen Elizabeth II (G1) winner Dayatthespa, who both sport eight wins in 13 career starts.
The race also drew defending champion Better Luck, Athenia (G3) winner Pianist and Goldikova (G2) winner Egg Drop.
Let’s head out to Hollywood Park for Sunday’s featured race of the day:
Betfair Hollywood Park Race 6 The Hollywood Derby G1 (Post time 3:04 PT)
3 Gervinho 8-1
4 Jack Milton 7-2
6 Admiral Kitten 5-2
5 Seek Again 6-1
Analysis: Gervinho tracked the early pace and finished up well in a third place finish last out in the Twilight Derby (G2), beaten 1 1/2 lengths by Rookie Sensation. Two back he was a good second in the Del Mar Derby (G2) behind Gabriel Charles, who would have been one of the favorites here but was knocked out this week with an illness. The colt has solid early and mid pace numbers and there really is not much early speed signed up to go here. He came from off the pace to win the Oceanside three back at Del Mar but should be closer to the front here and jockey Rafael Bejarano may even send this guy. The colt figures to be a decent price in this spot.
Jack Milton was third last out in the Jamaica (G1), beaten a length for the top spot. The Todd Pletcher trainee stalked the early pace while down along the inside, had to check when caught in tight nearing the three-sixteenths, had the lead briefly and did not have enough punch left late. It was his fourth straight third place finish since taking the Transylvania (G3) at Keeneland back in the spring. The colt has enough pedigree to handle 1 1/4 miles and was only beaten a couple of heads in the Virginia Derby (G2) at the distance. He is a half to turf stakes winner Peace Preserver ($382,166).
Admiral Kitten has landed in the exacta in all seven of his trips on turf. Last out in the Jamaica the colt had to steady early while down along the inside, came with a wide run and finished up well for the runner up spot. The Mike Maker trainee won the Secretariat (G1) two back at Arlington Park at today’s 1 1/4 mile distance. The colt will be rolling late but is going to need some pace to at and may not get it here.
WIN: #3 to win at 6-1 or better.
EX: 3,4 / 3,4,5,6
TRI: 3,4 / 3,4,5,6 / 3,4,5,6,9