Peter Angelos' favored Greek Sun, ridden patiently by Edgar Prado, unfurled his usual kick from the back of the pack to collar Laura's Lucky Boy in deep stretch and win the $150,000 Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT) on the turf at cloudy Santa Anita Park Sunday.
Greek Sun, a $425,000 son of Danzig, held off Laura's Lucky Boy by three-quarters of a length in 1:48 for the 1 1/8-mile event on a course rated good after showers earlier in the day. Hendrix, a length farther behind after a big effort at 56-1, nosed Imperialism for third.
Imperialism made his Southern California turf debut.
Trained by Bobby Frankel, Greek Sun appreciated the return to facing 3-year-olds and a firmer course. He was last of eight against older in his last start, the Man o'War (gr. IT) at Belmont Park on a yielding course Sept. 11.
Frankel is Oak Tree's career leader in wins with 248. He ranks second in Oak Tree stakes wins with 41.
"It's nice to do this for Bobby, he's been very supportive of me," Prado said.
Greek Sun seemed reluctant to swing into gear while chasing a solid pace set by Willy of :21 4/5 and :48 2/5 and Laura's Lucky Boy, who took over after completing six furlongs in 1:12 2/5. When Prado showed Greek Sun the whip, however, he picked up at the top of the lane, steaming down the center of the course from seventh to catch Laura's Lucky Boy, who had squirted clear in the lane for Gary Stevens.
"I was three-wide on the turn and behind horses so I stuck him outside, then he switched leads and took it in very strong," Prado said. "He's a nice horse who needs a little room to get himself going and he did that. It's very sharp turns here and a small stretch. You don't want to get stuck on the rail."
Prior to his effort in the Man o'War, Greek Sun ran second in the Secretariat (gr. IT) to Kitten's Joy at Arlington Park. He had won three in a row to begin his career, including the Cinema Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) in June by two lengths over Laura's Lucky Boy.
He earned $90,000 to push his bankroll to $342,652 for Angelos, the owner of the Baltimore Orioles.
Greek Sun paid $4.80, $3.20 and $2.80 as the 7-5 choice. Laura's Lucky Boy returned $4.20 and $3.80 while completing a $19.20 exacta. Hendrix, ridden by David Flores, was $8.20 to show.
After Imperialism came, in order, Semi Lost, Terroplane, On the Acorn, Whilly and Borrego.