A.P. Warrior Faces Five in Oak Tree Derby

A. P. Warrior, who may have finally found a home on the turf, shoots for successive graded stakes victory Saturday when facing five rival 3-year-olds in the $150,000 Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT) over 1 1/8 miles at Santa Anita.

David Flores was aboard when the costly son of 1992 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy won his grass debut in Del Mar's La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIT) on Aug. 12. He will be reunited with the bay colt purchased by Stan Fulton at the Keeneland September Sale two years ago for $1.3 million.

A. P. Warrior's opposition includes Obrigado, a fast-closing second in the Sept. 3 Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) after winning a division of the Oceanside Stakes, and Irish-bred import Dark Islander, a winner of two of five starts in England.

Trained by John Shirreffs, A.P. Warrior has won four of 12 starts while earning $530,595 facing the best competition of his generation. He captured last winter's San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) before running third in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I). Sent off at odds of 14-1 in the Kentucky Derby sponsored by Yum! Brands (gr. I), A.P. Warrior finished 18th in the field of 20 after being bumped at the start.

French-bred Obrigado began his career in France where he won three of seven starts. He was shipped to the U.S. earlier this year and joined the stable of Neil Drysdale. Owned by Gary Seidler and Peter Vegso, Obrigado has recorded four wins in 11 lifetime starts for earnings of $179,654.

The Oak Tree Derby, known as the Volante Handicap until 1997 and set for its 37th running, was won last year by Aragorn, a Drysdale trainee who is a leading contender for this year's NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT). \

$150,000 Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT, Race 8, 4:07 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. A. P. Warrior (KY), 120, David R. Flores
2. Dark Islander (IRE), 118, Jose Valdivia, Jr.
3. Icy Ridge (IRE), 118, Jon K. Court
4. Potential (KY), Martin A. Pedroza
5. Obrigado (FR), 118, Alex O. Solis
6. Refinery (KY), 118, Aaron T. Gryder