Come one and come all, step right up and bear witness to the spectacular event going on this Saturday May 6th at 3 pm here on the main dirt track at California. It is the Grade 1 California Derby – Derby Lock Prep. It will be run over the distance of 9 furlongs or 1800 meters and will payout a total purse of 1.5 Million dollars, but what these 14 (excuse me, 12) owners have their sights set on is the “golden ticket” of an automatic bid into this year’s Bluegrass Derby that goes to the winner of this race. 14 Colts will bust out of the gates hoping to get their shot at immortality and a very long booking list upon their retirement. We have only 12 different owners entered because both Selurnivek and Kashbarn will each send out a pair in the hopes of going to Kentucky the first Saturday in May. They are all hoping to join a club that so far has only 3 members; those that have won the California and Bluegrass Double. In 2002, TOWER STORM was the first to pull it off for Lonespeed. He went off at 3-1 odds and busted out of gate #5 in a field of 12 with Y Bower at the reins. He cruised home for a 2 length win posting a 115 SP#. 2 years later in 2004, GRANHEE did the trick for Theatrical after being the morning line favorite at 9/2 odds and drawing the rail post #1. He held down 9th place at the halfway mark before blowing past the field for a 3 3/4 length victory with F Gossett in the irons kicking out a 113 SP#. And just 2 years ago in 2017, CARL’S SHAMELESS became the third to do it for Punter34 (the first of his 2 straight Bluegrass winners). He went off at 10-1 odds from post #11 breaking hard out of the gates and taking the early lead which he never relinquished with A Rolling in the saddle he won by 1 1/4 lengths with an SP# of 108. All 14 entries this year are Colts, 4 of them have graded wins on their record. 10 are Kentucky bred with 2 bred in Japan and 1 each from Ireland and California. 10 Mare breds, 2 Scratch breds and 2 He-mare breds will enter the gates on Saturday. TAPIT was the sire for 3 of the starters, while GHOSTZAPPER and GUN RUNNER both have 2 sons entered in the race. Will any of this years entrants be able to pull off the tremendous double and add a 4th name to that exclusive club? One thing is for sure, one of them will get their chance!
AND NOW THE POST PARADE:
1 – POUND THE ROCK (8-1) NYCOWBOY
NO NAY NEVER x FLAT OUT x UNBRIDLED’S SONG 12-4-2-0
This Irish bred has been out hard on the Bluegrass Trail after posting 2 graded wins as a Juvenile. Returns to the track just 2 weeks after fading to 12th in the All Saints Derby and finishing 7that the Vermont is 4 Lovers in February, both Derby Lock Preps. He is the first foal out of the mare D FLAT MINOR. He posted his best SP# of 101 in his first outing of 2019 in the G1- Legoland. Last win came in September at the G1- End Of The Line Futurity. 3 of his 4 wins have come when he was at 10-1 odds or greater. With only a 2 week layoff and 3 races in the last 6 weeks, I find it hard to believe he would have the gas for this one but you never know.
2 – FORD’S CREATION (20-1) SELURNIVEK
SHACKLEFORD x MACHO UNO x UNBRIDLED’S SONG 8-1-2-0
The handicapper has tabbed him as the longest shot in the field as he is the only one that has yet to win twice. The Kentucky bred is the 2nd offspring from the mare YOUR SO MACHO. Has been running here on the California dirt since the start of the year, putting up his top SP# of 90 in both races, which included his only graded start last time out in the G2- Felipe Alou Stakes finishing 13 lengths back. This closer will definitely need to take a giant leap forward in his progress to be a factor in this race.
3 – EXCELSIS ENERGY (9-1) MTK76
TAPIT x SMART STRIKE x DEPUTY MINISTER 8-2-3-0
The Kentucky bred is the 5th offspring out of the stakes winning mare EXCELSIS DEO who has produced and EOY (VOLUMINOUS) and another G1 winner (EXCELSIS D’ORO). Has made his last 6 starts here at California, including 1 on the weeds. Last time out posted his lifetime best SP# of 101 in the Cali PGE Lights Out Special coming home 2nd. Prior race won a NW2L allowance for his first victory since his initial time on the track. Has made 1 graded start, a disappointing 12th in the G1 Dell Computer Futurity. M Kelly has 1 win in 4 previous mounts. Can not count him out with his pedigree.
4 – SUPER HARBOR (6-1) SELURNIVEK
HARBINGER x MEDAGLIA D’ORO x KINGMAMBO 8-5-1-0
The 2nd Selurnivek entry has been listed as the morning line favorite giving them book ends on the field. Last time out in his only race on the dirt went gate to wire winning the Cali PGE Lights Out Special with a 104 SP#. He is the 9th offspring from the mare MAMBO SUPERSTAR and is her only stakes winner. The Japanese bred has made 2 graded starts on the turf with a 2nd place in the G3- Wooden Reserve back in September. Comes in on a 2 race winning streak. An explosive starter out of the gates is looking to prove the first dirt race was not a fluke.
5 – KASH PROFIT (16-1) KASHBARN
TAPIT x STREET CRY x BERNARDINI 5-3-0-1
The first offspring from the mare KASH STREET is this Kentucky bred that is the least experienced runner with only 5 career starts and none of them have been stakes events at any level. Enters on a 2 race winning streak posting his best SP# of 94 last time out in a 34k NW4x Allowance. Has never covered the 9 panel distance or has been in a full field of 14 horses. A proven fast starter having been first or second out of the gates in all of his races. He will encounter a much tougher field in this one but has only failed to finish in the money once so far.
6 – GHOST HUNT TED (16-1) TEDSTABLES
GHOSTZAPPER x STORMY ATLANTIC x BODEMEISTER 9-2-2-0
Kentucky bred is the lone offspring from the mare ATLANTIC SKY T. Enters here off a second place last time out in a 75k Open Allowance putting ou his best SP# of 92. Made 1 graded start as a juvenile finishing 11th in the G1- End Of The Line Futurity. His last win came in September in a local 48k NW1x. Shoemaker will get a leg up on him for the 2nd time the other being the End Of The Line. He is a hard charger out of the gates and likes to be at or near the lead in the early fractions. Will be looking to find magic in a bottle here in his first try at 9 panels.
7 – SNIPER’S VIEW (7-1) FLAGDOWN
GUN RUNNER x FORTY NINER x SEATTLE SLEW 8-3-2-2
The son of one of last years top first year sires out of the mare VISIONS OF GLORY, he is her 12th foal and only graded winner. Radzinski will be back in the irons having won in both his previous rides. Opened the year with his first 2 graded attempts, finishing 3rd in the G3-Risen Star Stakes and last out kicked a 106 SP# while winning the G2- Felipe Alou Stakes here on the California dirt. Has only failed to hit the board once in his career. An early speed runner that has shown a knack for being able to finish. Could be a player down the stretch run but is attempting 9 furlongs for the first time.
8 – CREDIT CALL (12-1) EUROALIEN
MIDNIGHT STORM x STORM CAT x SIR IVOR 8-5-1-0
He closed out his juvenile campaign winning his last 4 starts including the G3- Pleasure Stakes in gate to wire style while knocking down a 97 SP#. Did not sem to like the outside post draw in only start this year in the G1- Vermont Is 4 Lovers finishing 12th from gate #12. The Kentucky bred is the last of 14 runners produced by the mare TWO NUNS AND A DOG, who has produced 2 other graded winners (DONT RULE ME OUT and HOLY BULB). Sparks will be in the saddle having won 1 of 2 previous rides. Connections are hoping to return to late 2018 form for this all out speed front runner.
9 – MONSTRUM REX (13-1) WAREMBLEM5
TAPIT x ARCH x SECRETARIAT 6-2-3-0
Kentucky bred TAPIT product out of the graded stakes winning He-mare PENDRAGON II. Will be entering the gates here for the first time in a stakes race of any level. Posted his top SP# of 100 last time out in a 48k NW2L allowance four weeks back. Has shown top notch closing speed throughout his young career only failing to finish on the board one time. Has never been in a race a greater than 5-1 odds before this one. The big step up in class is the chief concern here. It would probably be considered an upset if he cashes the Bluegrass ticket but not a total shocker.
10 – KASH BACK BONUS (11-1) KASHBARN
GHOSTZAPPER x A.P. INDY x NIJINSKY 2ND 7-4-2-0
The 2nd Kashbarn entry comes in here on a 3 race winning streak and last out popped a career best 103 SP# in the Oblivious Halo Dirt Route. This Kentucky scratchbred son of GHOSTZAPPER has been making big strides up during this win streak, having never ran better than a 77 SP prior. Has won from the front and stalking just behind the early speed. Has hit the board in every start except for his very first race. The connections are hoping that the train just keeps right on steaming to Kentucky and the Bluegrass.
11 – THREAT ELIMINATED (11-1) POINTBLANK
GUN RUNNER x TAPIT x STREET CRY 8-2-0-1
This Kentucky bred was produced from the graded stakes winning He-mare COMMAND N CONTROL. 3 weeks ago dropped down to a listed stakes the Tom E Nearctic Dirt Route and never fired finishing 11th after 4 unsuccessful graded starts. The last being the G3 The Scam here at California in February where he put out his best SP# of 96 while running 8th. Started career winning 2 of his first 3 starts but has produce only a 3rd place over an off track since with Clooch holding the reins his only success in his 4 previous mounts. Showed promise as a closing threat as a juvenile, can he summon that type of effort here?
12 – RACE A ANGEL (9-1) GERQUE
RACE DAY x GONE WEST x FORTY NINER 12-6-4-2
The winningest horse in the field with 6 victories and has never finished outside of the top 3 in his career. The Kentucky bred spent 4 races during juvenile season racing on the turf. Last out in the G2- Felipe Alou Stakes finished in third place and prior to that kicked out a 101 SP# making every pole a winning one in the Kowboy Dirt Route. The 15th offspring from the stakes winning mare ANGEL FROM VENTURA who has roduce 1 other graded winner (CHAI LAI ANGELS). This will be first race over 9 furlongs. Has never been worse than 2nd at the first call as all 6 wins have come when being in the lead.
13 – RAGNARNITERUN (8-1) THEOC
ACCLAMATION x TAPIT x STREET CRY 9-4-3-1
The California bred is out of the mare RACHEL’S SONG and is her 7th offspring and her only graded winner. Comes in off a February win in the G2- Sleepy Fan Stakes busting a 102 SP# in his only graded start to date. Has won 3 out of his last 4 races entered. Likes to stalk just behind the early speed before opening it up full throttle. Gossett has produced 3 wins from his 4 previous rides. All but 1 of his 9 starts have come here on the California dirt track. Rounding nicely into form and is a must watch here.
14 – OUTBACK CALYX (9-1) VYZ
DEEP IMPACT x A.P. INDY x MR. PROSPECTOR 6-2-1-2
The Japanese scratch bred posted up a 99 SP# last time out while finishing third in his only graded race the G2- Sleepy Fan Stakes and finished 2nd in only other listed stakes in the Franco Invasion Dirt Route 1 back before that. Has shown a nose for hitting the board finishing off the board only one time in his 6 starts. His last win came in November in a 48k NW3L allowance. This colt like to settlein mid pack before making his charge in the second half. He has dipped his toes in the graded waters now let’s see if he can swim.