A field of nine, headed by grade I winner Startac, was entered Thursday for Saturday's grade II Oak Tree Derby at Santa Anita. Romanceishope drew the rail and Sigfreto drew the far outside post. Secretariat Stakes (gr. I) winner Startac drew post position 6. The Oak Tree Derby was run as the Volante Handicap prior to 1997.
The field for the $150,000 race for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on the turf, with jockeys and weights: Romanceishope, Chris McCarron, 122; Mister Approval, Victor Espinoza, 118; Hadrianís Wall, Mike Smith, 118; Sligo Bay, Laffit Pincay Jr., 118; Lasting Tribute, Jose Valdivia Jr., 118; Startac, Alex Solis, 120; No Slip, Kent Desormeaux, 118; Huggy Boy, G.F. Almeida, 118, and Sigfreto, Matt Garcia, 118.
In a related development Thursday, Huggy Boy drilled four furlongs in :47.40 for trainer Warren Stute.
The Oak Tree Derby will be the first start for Startac under trainer Laura DeSeroux since he was placed in her care just after his win in the Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington Park Aug. 19.
Startac has been in training at San Luis Rey Downs since the transfer from trainer Simon Bray's barn. Startac is owned by the Allen Paulson Living Trust.
"He's done absolutely everything right," DeSeroux said. "I'm in awe of this horse, he's a machine."
Startac made his first four starts on the turf, winning two, including the Generous Stakes (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park at 2. He was then switched to the dirt for his next four starts, but only won his main-track debut in the Turf Paradise Derby. He ran 10th of 17 in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
He made a rousing return when back on turf in the Secretariat Stakes on the Arlington Million undercard. In all, Startac has won four of nine starts and has earned $525,193.
"That (Secretariat) performance is a good indicator of what he's capable of and of how tenacious he is," DeSeroux said. He worked Sunday, getting five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 under regular rider Alex Solis.