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Feb 23, 2012

Up the backstretch: Turf horse took to Golden Gate's artificial track

By: By Don Agriss, Horse Racing Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - A 3-year-old colt that had never won a race except on the grass came away Saturday with a key victory on a synthetic surface. The change in surfaces for Daddy Nose Best proved to be beneficial for him to win the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields.

Owned by Bob Zollars and trained by Steve Asmussen, Daddy Nose Best was making just his third start on a main track and his first on a synthetic surface. His two career wins before Saturday were both on turf courses.

Daddy Nose Best was again ridden by Julien Leparoux in the El Camino Real a partnership that produced two wins, a second and a third in six starts on grass.

Asmussen didn't make the trip to Golden Gate Fields, giving the assignment to assistant trainer Darren Fleming,

"We came here because of the added distance and his experience on turf which carries over to synthetic," Fleming said. "Winning (the El Camino Real Derby) last year with Silver Medallion helped our decision. He's been getting better with time, and he's trained with a different mindset since his last race. He's been showing us he wanted more ground, so we've had to wait for the races to catch up to him."

The 1 1/8 miles of the El Camino Real was just the right distance for the colt, which was able to stick his nose on the wire inches ahead of 5-2 second pick Lucky Chappy.

"I didn't know if I won or not," said Leparoux, who came in special for the race. "It was too close to call. It was nice to see the horse fight back."

Daddy Nose Best was no stranger to stakes races. He was third last year in the Summer Stakes at Woodbine and sixth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs. After winning a turf allowance in late November at Churchill Downs, he was fifth in the Eddie Logan Stakes at Santa Anita on New Year's Eve.

The colt's next start is still undecided as apparently Zollars, Asmussen and Fleming will put their heads together and come up with a plan.

"He came out of the race really good," Fleming said Sunday. "It was a great race. Steve and Bob will get together and discuss his next race."

An added benefit to winning the graded race is the $120,000 that Daddy Nose Best gains if his connections are thinking of running in the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May.

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