Texcess, the winner of the $1 million Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs in Louisiana last month, heads a field of five for the $100,000 Golden Gate Derby at Golden Gate Fields Saturday.The Golden Gate Derby is the Bay Area's first major race for 3-year-olds on the road to the 2005 Kentucky Derby (gr. I). Texcess enters the 1 1/16-mile race with a record of three wins and a second in four career starts.Texcess has made all but one of those starts in stakes events. He lost a photo finish in his career debut when he was beaten a head by Beat The Chalk in the $108,927 Barretts Juvenile at Fairplex Park on Sept. 19. In his next outing, Texcess broke his maiden in grand style, romping to a six-length victory in the $125,000 California Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita on Oct. 16.Texcess followed up his Cal Cup score with a game victory in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race at Hollywood Park on Nov. 14. He then was shipped to Vinton, La., where he won the rich Delta Jackpot by 1 1/2 lengths over Closing Argument on Dec. 4.The Delta Jackpot was run at 1 1/16 miles on Delta Downs' six-furlong oval and Texcess pressed the pace from the start. With Victor Espinoza aboard, Texcess took command on the final turn and won in 1:48.83 on a "fast" track that played slowly. Heavy rains hit the track the previous night.Texcess, a bay son of In Excess, is trained by Paul Aguirre, who owns him in partnership with Omar Aldabbagh. Texcess has earned $725,427 in his four races.The Southern California-based Aguirre gave Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze the call on Texcess, who is entered in the San Rafael (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park the same day. Aguirre said he would travel north instead.
Northern California's hope in the Golden Gate Derby will be Jerry Hollendorfer's Sharp Writer, who is coming off a six-length victory in a 1 1/16-mile maiden allowance race on the turf. The Florida-bred Dover Dere is also entered in the San Rafael.$100,000 Golden Gate Derby, 3-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Sharp Writer (KY), 120, Frank T. Alvarado
2. Buzzards Bay (FL), 120, Mark Guidry
3. Texcess (CA), 120, Russell A. Baze
4. Dover Dere (FL), 120, Ignacio Puglisi
5. Valdini (KY), 120, Tony Farina