Sharp Samurai wins the 2017 Del Mar Derby (G2)

Sharp Samurai wins the 2017 Del Mar Derby (G2)

Benoit Photo

Talented Trio Heads Twilight Derby Field

Sharp Samurai, Just Howard, and Cowboy Culture enter with winning streaks.

A trio of 3-year-olds in top form will take to the Santa Anita Park grass Oct. 28 in the $200,000 Twilight Derby (G2T).

All three are riding winning streaks into the 1 1/8-mile grass test, but they're all coming from different directions.

Heading up the home team is Red Baron's Barn, Rancho Temescal, and Mark Glatt's Sharp Samurai, who has won three straight stakes races in Southern California. Trained by Glatt, the First Samurai  gelding broke through in the Rainbow Stakes at Santa Anita in June, stepped up to graded competition for the first time Aug. 6 at Del Mar to take the La Jolla Handicap (G3T), and continued his ascent with a score in the Sept. 3 Del Mar Derby (G2T).

BALAN: Sharp Samurai Continues to Roll in Del Mar Derby

From the East Coast comes Skeedattle Associates' Just Howard, who has won four straight grass races in Maryland. The Maryland-bred English Channel  colt trained by Graham Motion broke his maiden at Pimlico Race Course May 29 and hasn't misfired since. He took the state-bred Caveat Stakes and Find Stakes over the summer at Laurel Park, then earned his first graded victory in the Sept. 30 Commonwealth Derby presented by the Virginia Equine Alliance and the Virginia HBPA (G3T).

Representing the Midwest (although he trains in Kentucky) is Head of Plains Partners and Cheyenne Stables' Cowboy Culture, who dominated the May 27 Arlington Classic (G3T), then returned from a more than three-month layoff to win the Sept. 6 Centaur Stakes at Indiana Grand Race Course.

Those three may have the best recent form, but the field of 11 also features plenty more classy sophomores. The second- and third-place finishers from the Del Mar Derby—grade 3 winner Big Score and multiple stakes winner Bowies Hero—are back to challenge Sharp Samurai again. Two more contenders from the East—multiple stakes winner Channel Maker and grade 3-placed Profiteer—are also shipping in.

Graded stakes-placed locals Cistron, Dangerfield, and Ann Arbor Eddie round out the field, along with recent allowance winner Troublewithatee.

Entries: Twilight Derby (G2T)

Santa Anita Park, Saturday, October 28, 2017, Race 9

  • Grade IIT
  • 1 1/8m
  • Turf
  • $200,000
  • 3 yo
  • 4:19 PM (local)
11Cistron (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateTyler Baze120John W. Sadler20/1
22Cowboy Culture (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateFlorent Geroux124Brad H. Cox6/1
33Big Score (KY)Flavien Prat122Tim Yakteen4/1
44Bowies Hero (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateKent J. Desormeaux120Philip D'Amato5/1
55Just Howard (MD)Keeneland Sales GraduateFergal Lynch124H. Graham Motion4/1
66Sharp Samurai (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateGary L. Stevens124Mark Glatt7/2
77Troublewithatee (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateCorey S. Nakatani120Philip D'Amato20/1
88Channel Maker (ON)Keeneland Sales GraduateDrayden Van Dyke120William I. Mott10/1
99Profiteer (KY)Mike E. Smith120Claude R. McGaughey III6/1
1010Dangerfield (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateKyle Frey120Doug F. O'Neill50/1
1111Ann Arbor Eddie (CA)Mario Gutierrez120Doug F. O'Neill20/1