Seven 2012 Kentucky Derby contenders in the California Derby

California Cup at Golden Gate Fields

Seven hopeful 2012 Kentucky Derby contenders are entered in the California Derby at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday.  The race will be run at 1 1/16 miles on Golden Gate’s Tapeta racing surface. The race will go off about 4:20 PM and is the eighth race.  Fans attending Saturday’s race will receive a free Golden Gate Fields hooded sweatshirt.  The California Derby is considered a 2012 Kentucky Derby prep race.  The owners and trainers of the seven horses hope that this race will be the first stop on the way to the 2012 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 6th.

Russian Greek, who drew post 6, will have Aaron Gryder aboard for the first time.  He overcame a stumble at the start to win the Gold Rush Stakes last month.  He is the 122 pound high weight for his return to Golden Gate Fields.

Russian Greek is a son of Giant’s Causeway and has won two of his three starts for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and owner Olympia Star.  Olympia Star paid $100,000 for him. After breaking his maiden in his debut at Santa Rosa last summer, Russian Greek turned in a fifth-place finish in the Golden Gate’s Golden Nugget Stakes at six furlongs in November.  He won the one mile Gold Rush at odds of 7-1 in his two-turn debut Dec. 10.

Hollendorfer also entered Reconstruction, who broke his maiden in his third start Dec. 11 at Golden Gate.  Two other horses also ran in the Gold Rush,  third-place finisher Blacky the Bull and Cahill Chrome.

Hodge was last seen in the Hollywood Prevue Stakes where he ran third for trainer Michael Machowsky.  Hodge will be ridden by Russell Baze.

Senor Rain scratched by trainer Peter Miller from the January 7 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita Park is another Southern California invader. Senor Rain ran third in the 1 1/16-mile Real Quiet Stakes at Hollywood Park on November 12. He will race without blinkers.

The California Derby is a steppingstone race to the February 18th $200,000 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields.

$100,000 California Derby, 3 YOs, 1 1/16 Miles

Post Position,  Horse (State bred),
Jockey, Weight, Trainer, Equipment change
1. Senor Rain (IN), K Krigger, 116, P Miller Blinkers off
2. Hodge (FL), R A Baze, 116, M Machowsky
3. Unveiled Heat (CA), A Cedillo, 116, S Specht
4. Cahill Chrome (CA), J J Hernandez, 119, R W Hansen
5. Blacky the Bull (KY), K John, 116, J Bonde
6. Russian Greek (KY), A T Gryder, 122, J Hollendorfer
7. Reconstruction (KY), F T Alvarado, 116, J Hollendorfer