Brother Derek Latest Star on California Horizon

Brother Derek Latest Star on California Horizon
Photo: Benoit
Brother Derek wins the Hollywood Futurity, Saturday at Hollywood Park.
Cecil N. Peacock's Brother Derek, coming off a fourth-place finish in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), showed he's the best West Coast-based 2-year-old not named Stevie Wonderboy with a comfortable win over favored Your Tent Or Mine in the $407,250 Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) Saturday.

The California-bred son of Benchmark-Miss Soft Sell (Siyah Kalem) broke off from the field on the far turn to open up a substantial lead in the stretch. Under strong urging from jockey Alex Solis, Brother Derek held Your Tent Or Mine and Patrick Valenzuela at bay to win by just over a length in a solid time of 1:42 for the 1 1/16-mile test.

Trained by Dan Hendricks, Brother Derek was the only Cal-bred in the race. He is the fifth Cal-bred to win the race in 25 years. More importantly, he established himself as a horse to watch leading to the 2006 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), a race six Futurity grads have won, including Giacomo in 2005.

Brother Derek, who won the 1 1/16-mile Norfolk (gr. II) at Santa Anita prior to the Breeders' Cup, withstood an inquiry into the start of the race. Starting on the immediate outside of Your Tent or Mine, Brother Derek took a left turn coming out of the gate and delivered a good bump to the favorite, who got away fourth after the mishap. Stewards reviewed the incident but decided not to change the order of finish.

Old Thunder got the early lead, setting a pace of :23 3/5 and :47 before Brother Derek, second on the outside of the front-runner, took the lead. After completing six furlongs in 1:10 2/5, the bay colt began to pull away. He maintained a two-length lead over Hollywood Prevue (gr. III) winner Your Tent Or Mine until the final stages when the runner-up closed in before running out of room.

"The Breeders' Cup, there was so much pressure up front," Hendricks said. "He broke on top and ran a very, very good race. But there was a lot of pressure, shipping and everything. For some reason, he just matured from then until now. We're just starting to see him ripple and grow up a little more in a short period of time."

Hendricks, paralyzed from the waist down in a motocross accident in July of 2004, cherished the victory.

"It ranks big for two reasons, two people – Dick Mandella and my dad (Lee)," Hendricks said. "The two best horsemen in the world. Dick gave me a lot of help with this horse, and it paid off. He helped me at the Breeders' Cup, he helped me at Del Mar. Just helping me get around at Belmont was nice. I owe it all to those two."

Brother Derek became the record-tying fourth Futurity winner for Solis, whose first came aboard Snow Chief in 1985.

"My faith in this horse has gotten stronger with every race," Solis said. "Going into the (clubhouse) turn, I was laying second. He was very keen because we were going kind of slow. But when we got to the backside, he was very relaxed. I thought we were going slow enough, so I let him go right along around the turn. When we got (to) the eighth pole, I felt like I still had a lot of horse. Patrick was right behind me, but I felt, at that point, that we were going to win the race."

Solis wasn't concerned with the incident at the break.

"Today, he lost his footing a little leaving the gate and went in a little bit," he said. "But Patrick's horse came out, too. It was just one of those things that happen at the gate, especially during the first jump."

Valenzuela had a slightly different take, but he was not disappointed in the effort of Your Tent Or Mine, who was beaten for the first time in three starts.

"I think the rule book says that you are supposed to maintain a straight course throughout the race, and when you get bumped like we did at the start, the judges have to do something about it," he said. "I'm just real surprised they didn't, but those things happen. It probably happens every other race here. Unfortunately, it happened to me, and I was on a horse that probably should have been right there. I only got beat a length. Nonetheless, he ran a great race. He was coming to the other horse at the wire, finishing strong. Alex had a pretty easy pace and kicked on."

Bob and John, Victor Espinoza aboard, was best of the rest to finish third, five lengths behind the winner, followed by A.P. Warrior, the second choice in the field of eight who failed to threaten.

Sent off at odds of 56-1, Brother Derek finished 8 1/2 lengths behind Stevie Wonderboy after pressing the pace for six furlongs in the BC Juvenile at Belmont Park Oct. 29. He has now won three times in five starts. The $244,350 winning purse Saturday boosted his earnings to $502,080.

Mary Caldwell bred the winner, who was a $275,000 purchase at Barretts in March.

The third choice, Brother Derek paid $9.20, $4.40, and $3.40. Your Tent Or Mine, a son of Forest Camp who went off at odds of 9-5, returned $3.40 and $2.80 in an encouraging effort in his first route try. Bob and John appeared to be done early but finished up well, paying $3.20 to show.

After A.P. Warrior came Old Thunder, Jealous Profit, Ecru Egret and Kobayashi, who was eased in the stretch.

(Chart, Equibase)

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