Under a patient ride from Patrick Valenzuela, odds-on choice Proudinsky seized the lead at the eighth pole and drew away in the final strides to win the $100,000 Bay Meadows Derby (gr. IIIT) on the lawn Sunday.
The German-bred Silvano colt, owned by Gary Tanaka and trained by Bobby Frankel, earned his first win in four United States starts this year. Valenzuela rode the bay for the first time Sunday.
Proudinsky, racing with Lasix for the first time, tracked the leaders from fourth into the far turn, swung three wide coming off the turn and soon drew even with Bold Chieftan, who battled on for Russell Baze before giving way late. Proudinsky prevailed by 1 1/4 lengths under steady urging in a time of 1:48 1/5 for the about 1 1/8-mile distance on a good course.
Front-running Bedlam Bertie (:24 4/5, :48 4/5 and 1:13 4/5) held third under Frank Alvarado, finishing 2 1/2 lengths behind the winner.
"I sensed they were going slow and I didn't want to get caught behind horses so I moved off the rail on the first turn," said Valenzuela. "I moved outside Russell's horse (Bold Chieftain) at the three-eighths. I had a lot of horse in the lane but I figured he would too."
Proudinsky had a significant class edge over his five rivals. He was coming off a fourth-place finish in the Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) Aug. 12 at Arlington Park. He was second by a nose in his U.S. debut in the Arlington Classic (gr. IIT) July 1 and also ran fifth in the Virginia Derby (gr. IIT) in between the two Chicago tries.
Valenzuela, one of the leading jockeys in the country, flew from Louisville, site of Saturday's Breeders' Cup World Championships, to San Francisco Sunday morning to ride Proudinsky.
"I feel this is a very good horse, and I wanted to ride him," Valenzuela said.
The bay colt began his career in his native Germany, where he broke his maiden at first asking by 15 lengths April 30 and also ran second in a listed stakes before his transfer to the U.S. The $55,000 winner's share Sunday increased his lifetime earnings to $147,864.
Proudinsky paid $3.20, $2.20 and $2.10. Bold Chieftan, coming off a five-length win in the Hays Valley for trainer William Morey Jr., returned $3.20 and $2.20.
"He relaxed good off of (Bedlam Bertie) on the backstretch," Baze said of Bold Chieftan. "When the winner came up to him in the stretch he dug in and tried to hold him off. He just couldn't match strides with him. He was second best."
Bedlam Bertie was $2.40 to show in his first stakes appearance.
The Irish-bred filly Illuminise, who failed to rally in the stretch for Corey Nakatani, settled for fourth, followed by Raise the Bluff and Sharper Edge. The scratches of Dr. Einstein and Passive Income reduced the field to six.