The Thoroughbred Corporation's Johar and jockey Alex Solis circled the field from last place on the final turn to win the $500,000 Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) at 1 1/8 mile on the turf.
Union Place, winner of the Calder Derby in his last start Oct. 12, galloped one mile on Hollywood Park's main track Wednesday under exercise rider Juan Aracena for the $500,000 Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) on Sunday.
The Thoroughbred Corporation's homebred Johar, a horse better known for losing close calls, eked out a nose victory in Sunday's Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT) over an unlucky Rock Opera.
Inesperado is perfect in three races in the United States, and trainer Bobby Frankel and jockey Corey Nakatani attempt to keep that record intact in Sunday's $150,000 Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT) at 1 1/8 miles on the Santa Anita turf.
Dream Machine's only two races in the United States were solid efforts, second by a length in the second division of the Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar on July 24, and third in the Relaunch Stakes on Aug. 16.
Inesperado remains undefeated in the U.S.; Frankel remains in a league of his own.
The cavalry will be coming after Rock Opera Saturday as the field turns into the homestretch of the Del Mar Derby.
Headed by multiple graded stakes winner Inesperado and the Grade II-winning shipper Mr. Mellon, nine 3-year-old grass runners will head postward Saturday for the 58th running of the $300,000 Del Mar Derby (gr. II).
Rock Opera, one of the leading contenders for Saturday's $300,000 Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT), put in his final work for the race, going 5 furlongs on the grass Sunday in 1:03.60 today.
Affluent, without Azeri in the field, gets the job done in the John C. Mabee/Ramona Handicap.
Rock Opera, ridden by 55-year-old Laffit Pincay, Jr., and True Phenomenon, under Thoroughbred racing's comeback jockey of the year, Patrick Valenzuela, won divisions of the featured Oceanside Stakes today before the largest opening-day crowd in Del Mar history, 37,439.
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