The powerful Bobby Frankel barn will send out Royal Gem in Sunday's $100,000 Bay Meadows Derby (gr. IIIT), a 1 1/8-miles turf race for 3-year-olds that will highlight the closing-day program of the 2002 fall meeting.
Royal Gem, a Kentucky-bred colt by Royal Academy, has two wins and a third in four career races. He tried stakes company in his most recent race, the Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita on Oct. 13, and finished a troubled sixth in the nine-furlong turf test.
"He got bumped pretty hard at the start," said Humberto Ascanio, Frankel's top assistant, of Royal Gem's try in the Oak Tree Derby. "It was his first race off a layoff (of nearly six months) and he got a little tired. I think he'll run a good race Sunday."
Royal Gem will be looking for his second career stakes victory. He captured the second division of the Academy Road Stakes at Santa Anita last March. Following the Academy Road, Royal Gem was sent to Keeneland, where he finished a disappointing third as a 2-5 favorite in the Forerunner Stakes. He then went to the sidelines.
A $225,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase, Royal Gem has earned $86,760 in his four races. The colt is owned by Pamela Blatz and Helen Smith and will be ridden Sunday by Russell Baze. Royal Gem will carry 119 pounds.
Heading the field in the Bay Meadows Derby will be Irish-bred Century City, who will tote highweight of 122 pounds when he makes his U.S. debut Sunday. Century City is a multiple stakes-winner who finished second to Rock Of Gibraltar in the Group I Irish 2,000 Guineas last May.
Century City hasn't raced since capturing the Group II Goffs International Stakes at the Curragh on July 13. The bay colt by Danzig is trained by Beau Greely and will be ridden by Mike Smith, who won two Breeders' Cup races last Saturday at Arlington Park. $100,000 Bay Meadows Derby (gr. IIIT), 1 1/8 mile turf, 3-year-olds
PP, Horse, Weight, Jockey
1 Century City (IRE), 122 , Mike E. Smith
2 Surprized (CA), 116, Ronald J. Warren, Jr.
3 Mr Wensleydale (GB), 114, Joe M. Castro
4 Runaway Dancer (KY), 113, Chad Schvaneveldt
5 Aly Bubba (CA), 113, Ryan Morris
6 Blue Slew's Shoes (KY), 114, Caesar V. Bisono
7 Royal Gem (KY), 119, Russell A. Baze
8 Leprechaun Kid (KY), 115, Matt S. Garcia