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Ez Dreamer Eyes Paradise Derby Win

The In Excess colt is seeking his second straight stakes score Feb. 9.

Triple AAA Ranch homebred Ez Dreamer, entering off a 9 ¾-length stakes score, is the horse to beat Feb. 9 in the $100,000 Turf Paradise Derby.

A 1 1/16-mile test on the dirt for 3-year-olds, the Turf Paradise Derby drew a field of eight, including three locals. One of those Arizona-breds is Ez Dreamer, a son of In Excess--French Debutante, by French Deputy. The bay colt is 3-2-1 from six career starts, including an emphatic victory in the Jan. 20 Rattlesnake Stakes at Turf Paradise.

Guided by the track’s leading stakes rider, Glenn Corbett, Ez Dreamer contested the early pace, took over at the top of the stretch and drew away with ease in the one-mile event. It was the first time Ez Dreamer was tested beyond 6 ½ furlongs, giving his connections hope that the extra distance will be to his benefit in this two-turn contest.

Ez Dreamer, who is two-for-four on the Turf Paradise dirt, has had a pair of nice works leading up to the Feb. 9 race, including a bullet breeze Jan. 15 in which he was clocked in :59 for five furlongs. Corbett will get the call again for trainer Kory Owens.

If Ez Dreamer is to win for the fourth time, one of the contenders he will need to defeat is Dolantori Racing’s Meer Kat, an Irish-bred colt making his debut on dirt. A son of Red Ransom, Meer Kat captured one of five races while beginning his career in England, including his maiden-breaking score Oct. 14 at Bath & Somerset County.

He shipped to the states shortly after that victory and was aggressively placed in the Nov. 23 Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the Hollywood Park turf. Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Meer Kat started very slowly in the Generous but made up ground along the rail in the one-mile vent, closing to get third in a race won by The Leopard.

Bred by Darley, Meer Kat was a $178,350 purchase at the Tattersalls October 2006 yearling sale. Martin Pedroza will ride for trainer Craig Dollase, who recently took over conditioning duties from Ben Cecil.

"We're going to try the dirt with him and see if we have some options," Dollase said. "If he handles the dirt well we might have some options down road with the Triple Crown. He seems to train well on the dirt, so we'll see what happens."

A pair of Kentucky-bred colts who enter off maiden scores will move into stakes competition. Robert Hersh’s Sheer Presence won a six-furlong event Jan. 23 at Turf Paradise in his career debut, coming from off the pace to score by 2 ¼ lengths. The Ecton Parkgelding is trained by Dan McFarlane.

The other Kentucky-bred is Honor Roll Racing’s Storm of Honor, who after finishing well back in his first three starts scored by 5 ¼ lengths Jan. 18 in a 7 ½-furlong maiden-claiming test on the grass at Turf Paradise. The Sir Cat colt is trained by Dennis Sowers.

The $75,000 Arizona Oaks, a one-mile test for 3-year-old fillies, is part of the Feb. 9 Turf Paradise card.

$100,000 Turf Paradise Derby (Race 8, 4:14 p.m. MST), Three-Year-Olds, 1 1/16 Miles (Dirt)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey

1. Campeone, 122, Daniel P. Vergara
2. Midnight Wish, 122, Jocelyne Kenny
3. Storm of Honor, 122, Scott A. Stevens
4. Stormy Highland, 122, Wilson Omar Dieguez
5. Ez Dreamer, 122, Glenn W. Corbett
6. Meer Kat, 122, Martin A. Pedroza
7. Nikki'sgoldensteed, 122, Jon Kenton Court
8. Sheer Presence, 122, Chris Landeros