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Jan 14, 2011

Two Kentucky Derby preps Saturday out west

By: By Don Agriss, Horse Racing Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Kentucky Derby season can officially begin this Saturday with two early prep races in California. Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields will each host two-turn events for three-year-olds.

First on the docket at 4:31 p.m. (et) will be the 1 1/16-mile Sham Stakes at Santa Anita. The $100,000 stakes has attracted five colts and geldings. The one-mile California Derby at Golden Gate has a dozen contenders.

Many of the 17 entrants in the two races will be going around two-turns for the first time.

The top money earner in the Sham is Clubhouse Ride with $297,550. Set to break from the inside post, the chestnut colt is trained by Craig Lewis and will be ridden by Pat Valenzuela.

Clubhouse Ride is the winner of two of his 10 starts, including a stakes race at the Fairplex. He's finished third in his last three starts, all stakes, including the CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park last month.

Trainer Bob Baffert goes for a third win in the Sham with Uncle Sam. The gray three-year-old broke his maiden first out in December in a mile test. Uncle Sam will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano from post two,

Three years ago trainer Eoin Harty won the race with Colonel John who would then go on to capture the Santa Anita Derby. Harty will saddle Anthony's Cross on Saturday with Joel Rosario Jr. in the saddle and breaking from post three.

Jockey Garrett Gomez has also won the Sham twice before and will be aboard Tapizar this time for trainer Steve Asmussen. Tapizar has drawn post four for his first California start.

Completing the Sham Stakes field is Pride of Silver trained by Bob Hess. The gelding has Victor Espinoza riding who has won the race three times. Pride of Silver has two seconds along with his maiden win.

The top two finishers from Golden Gate's Gold Rush Stakes headline Saturday's California Derby. Post-time is slated for 6:52 p.m. (et).

Gold Rush winner Positive Response is joined by runner-up Grand Maneuver. Positive Response will start from post 11 and Grand Maneuver will be to his outside.

Positive Response, trained by William Morey, won the Gold Rush by six-lengths over Grand Maneuver. Julien Couton will ride the gelding for the second straight start. Positive Response has won his last two starts and has three wins in five races for $79,681.

Grand Maneuver will be ridden by Leslie Mawing for trainer Danny Velasquez. The colt has three wins in eight starts and has been in the money in all but one race for $68,240.

Here is the field for the California Derby in post position order: Dancing At Dark, Russell Baze; The Great Caper, Omar Figueroa; Zayda, Chad Schvaneveldt; Bluegrass Reward, Juan Hernandez; Rule He Must, David Lopez; Northern Indy, Inoel Beato; Jakesam, Frank Alvarado; Mr. Candy Bar, Hector Romero; Mazarron, Francisco Duran; Cut Fastball, Catalino Martinez; Positive Response, Julien Couton and Grand Maneuver, Leslie Mawing.

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