Television magnate Merv Griffin will try to win the $100,000 Golden Gate Derby (gr. III) Saturday at Golden Gate Fields with his surprising 3-year-old colt Skipaslew.
The Golden Gate Derby, California's first graded stakes for Kentucky Derby (gr. I) hopefuls, will be run at 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Five were entered Thursday.
Doug O'Neill, who claimed the Virginia bred on behalf of Griffin for $50,000 in July, trains Skipaslew. Since joining forces with O'Neill and Griffin, Skipaslew has earned $108,120, going 3-for-5 with two stakes victories.
Skipaslew will be making his second straight appearance at Golden Gate Fields, where he captured the one-mile Gold Rush Stakes on Dec. 13. French jockey Eric Saint-Martin rode Skipaslew in the Gold Rush and he'll be back aboard the son of Skipaway in the Golden Gate Derby.
Also set to start are Dixieland Heater, who has won four of his five career starts, and O. K. Mikie, who finished strong to finish third in the Gold Rush. $100,000 Golden Gate Derby (gr. III, 1:45 p.m. PST), 3-year-olds, 1 1/16 mile
PP., Horse, Jockey
1. O. K. Mikie (CA), Adalberto Diaz Lopez
2. Bensquito (CA), Miguel A. Perez
3. Gwaihir (IRE), Chance J. Rollins
4. Dixieland Heater (WA), Kevin Radke
5. Skipaslew (VA), Eric Saint-Martin
All carry 120 pounds.