Muny on Target for Hollywood Derby

Trainer Mike Puype says Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT) winner "is for real."

(From Hollywood Park stable notes)

Muny, who posted his third straight victory with a front-running effort in the Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT) on the Breeders‘ Cup undercard at Santa Anita Oct. 25, is slated to make his next start in the $500,000 Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) Nov. 30, trainer Mike Puype said Nov. 7.

The Hollywood Derby is at 1 1/4 miles on turf.

“He’s three-for-four,” said Puype of the 3-year-old gelding. “I bet not many horses have won the Oak Tree Derby in only their fourth start. It’s not easy to take on those seasoned horses and carry them wire-to-wire.

“Not many horses went wire-to-wire on the turf during Breeders’ Cup,” pointed out Puype. “He’s a very game horse. When he feels another horse coming, he runs again. He starts to decelerate, but he finds more when he feels the pressure. He felt Mike Smith’s horse (Madeo) coming in the (Oak Tree) Derby. In all three of his wins, it looks like a horse is going to swallow him, and he finds more. He’s for real.”

Muny, bred and co-owned by Rick Trontz in Kentucky, is by Najran out of the Farma Way mare Because I Can. “Rick runs Hopewell Farm and stands Najran,” said Puype. “He was a fast, precocious horse.”

A main concern for Puype is the 10-furlong distance, an eighth of a mile longer than Muny has run.

“That’s uncharted territory. He’s always pulled on the bit. He will have to relax a little more at a mile and a quarter,” Puype said.

Muny is scheduled to work Nov. 8 at Santa Anita before being shipped to Hollywood Park and working on the turf Nov. 16 and 23.

Regular rider David Flores retains the Derby call.

Trontz owns half the horse and is in partnership with Bob Bone, Jim Robinson, Don Johnson, and Brewer Racing.

The Hollywood Derby is shaping up as an outstanding race. Other leading contenders include Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) winner Madeo, Virginia Derby (gr. IIT) victor Gio Ponti, Jamaica Handicap (gr. IIT) hero Court Vision, and Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) winner Winchester.