(from Bay Meadows report)
California Derby winner Bwana Bull heads a field of seven 3-year-olds entered Wednesday morning in the $200,000 El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) Saturday at Bay Meadows.
Northern California's top Kentucky Derby prep, the El Camino Real Derby is contested at 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Graduates of the race include Charismatic, the 1999 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness (gr. I) winner who also earned honors as the 1999 Horse of the Year.
Bwana Bull is one of three horses in the El Camino Real Derby field trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, who will also start Candy's Bro and Brave Sun. Hollendorfer will try for a repeat California Derby-El Camino Real Derby double. He accomplished the feat last year with Cause to Believe, who went on to run in the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), finishing 13th.
Bwana Bull will be ridden in the El Camino Real Derby by Russell Baze, who missed riding the colt in the California Derby Jan. 28. Baze sustained a broken rib in a spill in the race prior to the Cal Derby. Baze and Bwana Bull have teamed up three times for two wins and a second.
A Kentucky-bred son of Holy Bull, Bwana Bull has three wins, two seconds, and a third in seven career starts. Bwana Bull's most impressive victory came in the 1 1/16-mile California Derby at Golden Gate Fields on Jan. 28, when he romped home by five lengths under substitute jockey David Lopez in 1:44.70.
Bwana Bull, purchased as a yearling for $140,000, has earned $134,962 in his seven races and would bank another $110,000 with a victory Saturday. Mark DeDomenico, Dan Jelladian, and George Todaro own Bwana Bull in partnership.
Lopez, after filling in for Baze on Bwana Bull in the California Derby, takes over for Baze Saturday on Brave Sun, a California-bred colt who has won his last three starts. A nose winner of a mile allowance race at Bay Meadows Feb. 15, Brave Sun will make his stakes debut in the El Camino Real Derby.
Candy's Bro, owned in part by weight-loss queen Jenny Craig, has two wins and two seconds in five starts. A Kentucky-bred colt, Candy's Bro finished fourth in the California Derby in his first try around two turns.
The top threat to Hollendorfer's trio appears to be Court the King, who is undefeated in two starts. A gelded son of Doneraile Court, Court the King broke his maiden racing six furlongs at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans in December and then made an impressive West Coast debut on Feb. 2 when he rallied from off the pace to win a one-mile allowance race at Santa Anita by two lengths. John Sadler, the third-leading trainer at Santa Anita, conditions Court the King.
Freesgood won the California Cup Juvenile in October and will make his 3-year-old debut Saturday. Freesgood sports the connections of trainer Bill Currin and jockey Desormeaux, who came within a nose of winning last Saturday's Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park with Stormello.
$200,000 El Camino Real Derby (gr. III, Race 8, 4:15 p.m.)
3-year-Olds, 1 1/16 Miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Zoning In (CA), 115, Joel Rosario
2. Brave Sun (CA), 115, David G. Lopez
3. Court the King (KY), 115, Jose Valdivia, Jr.
4. Coalinga Kid (CA), 115, Roberto M. Gonzalez
5. Candy's Bro (KY), 115, Chad P. Schvaneveldt
6. Bwana Bull (KY), 120, Russell A. Baze
7. Freesgood (CA), 120, Kent J. Desormeaux