El Camino winner Cause to Believe faces next test in Saturday's Cal Derby.

El Camino winner Cause to Believe faces next test in Saturday's Cal Derby.

Bay Meadows

Cause to Believe Faces Shippers in Cal Derby

Northern California's top 3-year-old, Cause to Believe, heads a field of seven in Saturday's $100,000 California Derby at Golden Gate Fields.

The winner of the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) in his most recent start, Cause to Believe is not nominated to the Triple Crown. Part owners Peter Redekop and Peter Abruzzo and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer are considering the $6,000 nomination fee due by March 25.

Among the rivals to Cause to Believe in the Cal Derby are three fast developing Southern California-based colts.

Hollendorfer purchased Cause to Believe as a 2-year-old for $30,000, then sold part interest to Redekop and Abruzzo after winning the El Camino Real.

"He's a nice looking colt, or I would have never bought him in the first place," said Hollendorfer. "He worked fast (in the sales preview), had a good pedigree and the right kind of size. I thought he'd be a good horse to buy."
Hollendorfer said Cause to Believe's strong mental makeup has had a lot to do with his success. 
"Nothing bothers him," said Hollendorfer. "He has an easy temperament. He doesn't let things get him upset."

Cause to Believe has five wins and three seconds in eight career starts and $280,565 in earnings. A Kentucky-bred colt by Maria's Mon, Cause to Believe has won four stakes.

Hollendorfer, who saddled Eye of the Tiger to a fifth-place finish in the 2003 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), will also start Passive Income in the 1 1/16-mile California Derby. The trainer has tabbed Russell Baze to ride Cause to Believe and Chad Schvaneveldt has the call on Passive Income.

Passive Income has just one win in five starts. However, he is coming off a good second to Point Determined in a mile allowance race at Golden Gate Fields that was contested on a wet-fast racetrack Feb. 17. George Todaro owns Passive Income. 

Stronach Stables' homebred Racketeer takes another step for trainer Bobby Frankel. The maiden-winning son of Awesome Again  ran third in a first-level allowance race at six furlongs Feb. 12 at Santa Anita. He broke his maiden a month prior to that. Victor Espinoza travels north for the mount, replacing Patrick Valenzuela

Trainer Bob Baffert sends out both Sinister Minister, a son of Old Trieste, and B. Wayne Hughes' Sky Diving, an Aptitude colt.

Sky Diving, to be ridden by David Flores, is coming off a second-place finish, beaten by one length as the 3-5 favorite in the Turf Paradise Derby. The $310,000 colt broke his maiden by 14 lengths at Bay Meadows prior to that.

Sinister Minister broke his maiden against $62,500 claiming horses by eight lengths Jan. 20 at Santa Anita, then ran sixth in the seven-furlong San Vicente (gr. II) Feb. 12. Martin Garcia rides.

$100,000 California Derby (Race 8, 4:15p.m.), 3-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles
PP. Horse, Jockey
1. Sinister Minister (KY), Martin Garcia
2. Sky Diving (KY), David Flores
3. Passive Income (KY), Chad Schvaneveldt
4. Racketeer (KY), Victor Espinoza
5. Cause to Believe (KY), Russell Baze
6. Pop Icon (MD), Pablo Morales
7. The Five J's (FL), Chance Rollins
Each horse assigned 121 pounds.