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Connemara, Macias Expected for Cal Derby

West Coast's first derby attracts 16 nominations for Golden Gate Fields race.

Connemara, an undefeated colt trained by Todd Pletcher, and Macias, a two-time stakes-winner from the Bob Baffert barn, are among the 16 runners nominated to the $100,000 California Derby Jan. 16 at Golden Gate Fields.

The California Derby, the first derby of the year on the West Coast, is a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds. It is a steppingstone to the $150,000 El Camino Real Derby (gr. III), which will be run Feb. 20.

The following runners are nominated to the California Derby: Brady Blue Eyes, Cahill Country, California Soldier, Cardiff Giant, Connemara, Dixie Commander, Domonation, Lucky Rave, Macias, Our Minesweeper, Ranger Heartley, Setsuko, Shudacudawudya, Thomas Baines, Twenty Hawks, and Via Verde. The field for the race will be drawn Jan. 13.

Golden Gate stakes coordinator David Jerkens reported that Cahill Country, Connemara, Macias, and Our Minesweeper are confirmed for the race.

Cahill Country has two wins and a second in his last three starts; however, those races were on the turf. The California Derby will be run on Golden Gate Fields' synthetic Tapeta racing surface.

Connemara, a son of Giant's Causeway , overcame a slow start and an outside post position to win a one-mile maiden allowance race at Turfway Park in his debut. One month later, Connemara validated the impressive maiden score by posting a game victory in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race at Santa Anita.

Macias has three wins and a third in five career starts. Macias won the six-furlong Jack Goodman Stakes Oct. 31 and most recently captured the one-mile Eddie Logan Stakes on the turf at Santa Anita Dec. 28.

Our Minesweeper, trained by Michael Lenzini, also owns a pair of stakes victories. Our Minesweeper won the six-furlong Cavonnier Juvenile at Santa Rosa Aug. 1 and the one-mile Bart Heller at Golden Gate Fields Sept. 12. In his most recent race Dec. 12, Our Minesweeper finished second in the one-mile Gold Rush Stakes.