Capitano Well Spotted in California Derby

(from Bay Meadows report)
Capitano will try to shake his case of "seconditis" Saturday at Bay Meadows when he faces six opponents in the $100,000 California Derby.

Capitano won his career debut last July at Hollywood Park but hasn't visited the winner's circle in six subsequent races. The Pennsylvania-bred colt has four second-place finishes, three in graded stakes.

As a 2-year-old, Capitano took second in both the Best Pal and Norfolk (both gr. II) before running sixth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). In his most recent start this year, Capitano dead-heated for second in the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) at Golden Gate Fields on March 13.

The California Derby will be run at 1 1/8 miles on the main track. Capitano, the 2-1 favorite on the morning line, is trained by Ray Bell and will be ridden by his regular pilot, Jose Valdivia, Jr.

"He continues to improve," said Bell of Capitano, who was only beaten a half-length by winner Kilgowan in the 1 1/16-miles El Camino Real Derby. "I was very impressed with his last race."

Capitano dueled on the lead throughout the El Camino Real Derby and was a half-length in front a furlong from the finish.

"It looked like as soon as he got in front, he geared himself right down," said Bell. "But when he saw those horses come up outside him, he picked it up again and finished with some conviction."

Despite Capitano's strong effort, Bell never came close to catching "Derby Fever." He'll let others shoot for the Kentucky Derby on May 1 at Churchill Downs.

"As opposed to getting caught up in the Derby hype, our intention is to find a spot where he can get a win," said Bell.

$100,000 California Derby, 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 mile
PP. Horse, Jockey, ML Odds
1. Melanyhasthepapers, Chad Schvaneveldt, 6-1
2. Dream Place, Chance Rollins, 5-2
3. Capitano, Jose Valdivia Jr., 2-1
4. Oro Grand, Omar Figueroa, 20-1
5. Erik's the Charm, Ron Warren, Jr., 5-1
6. Copper Mist, Roberto Gonzalez, 20-1
7. Trieste's Honor, Russell Baze, 3-1
All carry 120 pounds.