Sign of Hope Rallies for Oak Tree Derby Win

Sign of Hope Rallies for Oak Tree Derby Win
Photo: Associated Press/ Benoit Photo
Jockey Alex Solis guides Sign of Hope to the winner's circle after winning the Oak Tree Derby Saturday at Santa Anita Park.
Relatively Stable's Sign of Hope came off the rail in the stretch and rallied to catch pacesetter David Copperfield three jumps from the wire to win the $250,000 Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT) Saturday at Oak Tree at Santa Anita. Under a well-timed ride from Alex Solis, Sign of Hope completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.71 over firm turf.

David Copperfield sprinted to the front of the pack, leading by three lengths after an opening quarter-mile run in :23.18. L'Effaceur moved up to challenge on the backstretch as David Copperfield continued to lead through a half-mile in :47.40 and six furlongs in 1:11.52. Jockey Victor Espinoza edged David Copperfield away from the field in the stretch, leading by 2 1/2 lengths with a furlong to run. Sign of Hope lost a bit of momentum as L'Effaceur moved out slightly in the stretch, but recovered quickly to pull away to a half-length win. David Copperfield finished second, 2 1/2 lengths in front of El Gran Papa. L'Effaceur and Jokerman completed the order of finish.

"We saved all the ground and came out at the right time in the stretch," said Solis. "At the eighth-pole, I saw David Copperfield coming back a little bit, and my horse was moving like he was going to get there."

Sign of Hope paid $9.60, $4.60, and $3 and led a $1 exacta worth $28.50. David Copperfield returned $5.60 and $3.20. El Gran Papa was worth $3 to show.

The win is the first in North America for Sign of Hope, who previously won the Gordons Gin and Burford Handicaps while racing in England out of trainer Ian Balding's barn. Sign of Hope (Selkirk--Rainbow's End, by My Swallow) was bred in Great Britain by Highclere Stud Ltd., and the gelding is now trained by Neil Drysdale. Sign of Hope earned $150,000 for the win, his third in 11 starts. (Chart, Equibase)

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