Espinoza to Miss Derby, Will Ride Sarafan

Espinoza to Miss Derby, Will Ride Sarafan
Photo: Mike Corrado
Last year's winning jockey will not ride in this year's Derby.
Jockey Victor Espinoza, who won his first Kentucky Derby on longshot War Emblem last year, will spend the first Saturday in May at Hollywood Park.

Agent Tony Matos confirmed Sunday that Espinoza has taken the call on Sarafan in the $100,000-added Inglewood Handicap (gr. IIIT) at 1 1/16 mile on the grass for trainer Neil Drysdale on May 3.

Sarafan, a 6-year-old gelding owned by Gary Tanaka, will be making his 2003 debut after enjoying his best year with more than $2-million in earnings in spite of bad racing luck in both the Japan and Hong Kong Cups in his final two starts of 2002.

Sarafan worked seven furlongs in 1:28.40 on turf Sunday.

Blue Steller, another candidate for the Inglewood, worked five furlongs in 1:02 Sunday under exercise rider Marco Ramirez for the Bobby Frankel stable. Corey Nakatani has the call.

Other probable starters include Gondolieri, a Group I winner from Chile in the Ron McAnally stable, with Frank Alvarado, and Freefourinternet, who joined the Laura de Seroux stable after a third-place finish in the Explosive Bid Handicap at Fair Grounds March 23, under Mike Smith.

Kela, another Inglewood nominee, worked five furlongs on turf in 1:01.60 Sunday for his grass debut for trainer Larry Barrera.

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