Chad Brown Trio Highlights a Field of Twelve for the Hollywood Derby
By Jordan Sigmon
Over the years the Hollywood Derby (GIT) has played host to many superstars and served as the coming-out party for many others. This year a well-matched field of 12 will line up in the starting gate, with only one previous grade 1 winner set to go in the race. With half of the field shipping in from the East Coast, the age-old East vs. West battle comes in to play as well. The Hollywood Derby will be run for the third year on the Del Mar turf course at 1 ⅛ miles, having previously been run at Hollywood Park until that track’s closure in 2013.
Chad Brown has more North American graded stakes wins than any other trainer this year with a whopping 41, amassing over $14.5 million in earnings from just his graded stakes starters. In Saturday’s $300,000 Hollywood Derby (GI) at Del Mar he sends out a strong trio of colts for three different owners. Beach Patrol, owned by James Covello, Sheep Pond Partners and Head of Plains Partners LLC, is the lone grade 1 winner in the field having captured the Secretariat Stakes (GIT) at Arlington Park in August. The son of Lemon Drop Kid was most recently second to stablemate and fellow entrant Camelot Kitten by an unlucky head in the Hill Prince Stakes (GIIIT).
Camelot Kitten, who races for Ken and Sarah Ramsey, is a four-time graded stakes winner himself, but never at the top level. A winner of five out of ten career starts, Camelot Kitten is as game a racehorse as you’ll find, never winning a race by more than a neck. The final Chad Brown runner is Annals of Time for the partnership of Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence. Having made only three starts, the son of Temple City displayed a decent amount of class last out when third to Camelot Kitten and Beach Patrol in the Hill Prince Stakes (GIIIT), beaten just a length.
Perhaps the most exciting prospect in the field is the Graham Motion-trained French import Hayabusa One, who races under the ownership team of Team Valor International and Gary Barber. Hayabusa One was a private purchase after breaking his maiden in an effort where he had to deal with an extraordinary amount of trouble throughout the race. Co-owner Barry Irwin explained the reasoning for the purchase saying, “I wanted to own a horse that had the athleticism and the heart to overcome adversity to such a rare extent.” In his first U.S. start, Hayabusa One took a 1 3/16-mile non-winners of two “other than” allowance on the turf at Keeneland by 3 ¾ lengths after sitting well off a moderate pace early and closing to run the final 3/16 in an impressive time of :17 ⅘.
When asked about the effort Irwin said, “He surprised me because he had really not had a lot of work before that win. He blew away both the competition and myself.” The connections are expecting a great effort from their colt, saying that the horse is coming in, “much fitter and stronger than he was for his US debut.”
The final two East Coast-based runners are Isotherm for trainer George Weaver and Revved Up for Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey. Owned by Matthew Schera, Isotherm was a grade 3 winner in September of last year but has yet to win a race since; he was most recently eighth over a soft turf course in the listed English Channel Stakes. Revved Up, owned by the Phipps Stable, took until July to break his maiden and was a close fifth in his only graded stakes attempt. He was most recently fourth in a non-winners of three “other than” allowance at Aqueduct.
Leading the West Coast charge is the Twilight Derby (GIIT) winner Frank Conversation for Reddam Racing and trainer Doug O’Neill. After winning the El Camino Real Derby (GIII) over synthetic in February, the son of Quality Road was sent to Dubai for the UAE Derby (GII) in hopes of earning a spot in the Kentucky Derby (GI) starting gate. A failed attempt there was followed by two subpar effort on the grass upon his return to the U.S., but he seemed to regain his best form at the right time last out when he won the aforementioned Twilight Derby.
Richard Baltas has a pair of colts entered in the race with Free Rose and Diplodocus. Free Rose is owned by Abbondanza Racing LLC and Nathan McCauley. After experiencing little success on the East Coast, Free Rose was sent to Baltas and has won two of four starts under his care, including a pair of graded stakes over this course. Diplodocus, who races for Bloom Racing Stables LLC and Head of Plains Partners LLC broke his maiden on the turf at Santa Anita in January then spent the better part of the spring on the Kentucky Derby trail. Though he has yet to hit the board in any of his Stakes attempts, he was a fast-closing fifth beaten just a length in the Twilight Derby (GIIT) in his most recent start.
Path of David, Defiantly and Blackjackcat round out the field. Path of David was an easy winner of the listed Eddie Logan Stakes last December, but he has yet to recreate that form for trainer Kristin Mulhall and owners Ike, Dawn, Alley, Janet and Sam Thrash. Defiantly broke his maiden in the Let It Ride Stakes last out for Craig Dollase and owner Ruis Racing LLC. Blackjackcat owned by Al and Saundra S Kirkwood has never won a stakes race but is multiple graded stakes placed on both turf and dirt.
The Hollywood Derby has been carded as the day’s 7th race with a post time of 3:30 p.m. PT.