Gallant Son Headed for Santa Anita Derby

Frank Lucarelli's charge won the Pasadena Stakes March 15 on the turf.

from Santa Anita Park

Gallant Son is “99% sure” to run in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) April 4, trainer Frank Lucarelli said the morning of March 28.

The trainer had been considering the Illinois Derby (gr. II) at Hawthorne Race Course the same day for the son of Malabar Gold, who won the restricted Pasadena Stakes at one mile on turf at Santa Anita Park March 15.

“He’s doing good in California, so we’re 99% sure to run in the Santa Anita Derby,” Lucarelli said. “He has never really shipped that far, so going to the Midwest isn’t something I’d want to consider right now.”

Lucarelli was hoping to engage Rafael Bejarano to ride Gallant Son. Alex Solis was aboard for the Pasadena victory, but he is committed to The Pamplemousse. Were Bejarano unavailable, Lucarelli said he would engage Leslie Mawing, who rode Gallant Son in the colt’s first eight races.

Gallant Son has five wins from nine starts, with earnings of $161,988 for Chris and Diane Randall of Bellevue, Wash. Gallant Son was seventh in the Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) behind champion Midshipman at Santa Anita last Oct. 25, beaten only 3 1/2 lengths despite an eventful trip.

Agent Tony Matos reported that Victor Espinoza would ride Feisty Suances in the Santa Anita Derby for trainer Darrell Vienna. David Flores, who was aboard in five of the colt’s six career races, including a second last out behind Pioneerof the Nile in the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II), rides Magnum for Vienna in the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) that day.