Game Trieste's Honor Wins California Derby

Making his first stakes appearance, Cobra Farm's Trieste's Honor battled favored Capitano for the entire stretch run before getting up by a neck in the $100,000 California Derby for 3-year-olds at Bay Meadows Saturday.

Ridden by Russell Baze for trainer Mike Puype, Trieste's Honor, a chestnut Kentucky homebred by Old Trieste, completed the 1 1/8-mile test on a fast track in 1:47 4/5. He earned $55,000 for the victory, his third in eight career starts.

Baze, who won his third California Derby, scored his first in 1981 with Always A Cinch and didn't get his second until 1999, when he tallied with Red Sky's.

"He got to gawking around when we made the lead," said Baze of Trieste's Honor. "When Capitano got to his throat, he dug back in. I was getting away from him near the end. We could have gone around again and he wasn't going to get by us. This horse has a lot of talent."

Capitano, the 9-5 favorite in the field of seven, was six lengths in front of third-place finisher Dream Place.

Trieste's Honor broke well from his outside post, then took back as Capitano and Erik's the Charm fought for the lead through fractions of :22 3/5, :45 3/5 and 1:09 3/5. Stalking three wide while advancing on the final turn, Trieste's Honor was forced even wider before he forged to the front at the top of the stretch. Capitano, who gradually put away Erik's the Charm on the turn, hooked up with Trieste's Honor, relinquishing the lead before coming back in an all-out effort.

Dream Place could not keep pace in the stretch after stalking his way into contention, but finished three lengths clear of fourth-place finisher Oro Grand.

Trieste's Honor more than doubled his career earnings to $95,330.

The winner paid $6.40, $3.20 and $2.80 as the public's second choice.

Capitano, who has been second in his last three starts and has five runner-up finishes in eight career outings, returned $3 and $2.40. It was his fourth runner-up placing in a stakes.

"This horse is very frustrating," said jockey Jose Valdivia, Jr., Capitano's regular rider. "He's better than this. I think he may have given 75 percent today. From the top of the stretch all the way home he was just looking at the other horse. He's content to just run along side another horse.

"He's always shown he has a lot of talent, but he won't apply himself," Valdivia continued. "I mean we split the field (ran sixth of 12) in the Breeders' Cup (Juvenile) so you know the talent's there."

Dream Place's show was $2.80.

(Chart, Equibase)