Ultimate Eagle wins Oak Tree Derby at Santa Anita
Ultimate Eagle, Venomous and Cozy Kitten will face off again in Sunday’s Grade 1 Hollywood Derby at Hollywood Park. The race, which is the Grand Finale to Hollywood Park’s three-day Turf Festival, has drawn a field of 12 three-year-olds going a mile and one-quarter on the turf.
Ultimate Eagle finished a half-length ahead of a fast-closing Venomous in the Grade 2 Oak Tree Derby at Santa Anita on Oct. 15. Cozy Kitten finished another half-length back in third.
Ultimate Eagle, who is somewhat of a miracle horse, is trained by Mike Pender for owner B.J. Wright. A colt by Mizzen Mast out of the Captain Bodgit mare Letithappencaptain, Ultimate Eagle nearly died as a two-year-old due to colic.
“This is a good racehorse,” said owner B.J. Wright at Santa Anita. “He is back from the dead. He came within a hair of dying.”
Ultimate Eagle has made six career starts as a three-year-old, winning the last three after moving from the synthetic track to the turf, and amassing earnings of $179,800. The Oak Tree Derby was his graded stakes debut.
Venomous, an English-bred son of Red Ransom, was making his first start in the U.S. in the Oak Tree Derby. Trained by Leonard Powell for Magalen Bryant, he has won 3 of 13 and earned $218,711.
Cozy Kitten will be seeking his first graded stakes victory, for owner-breeders Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trainer Wesley Ward. The Kitten’s Joy gelding is 2 for 9 with earnings of $144,464.
From the inside out, the field for the 70th running of the Hollywood Derby: Cloud Man, Mike Smith rides, 122 pounds; Imagining, Javier Castellano, 122; Slumber Garrett Gomez, 122; Western Aristocrat, Corey Nakatani, 122; Casino Host, Joe Talamo, 122; Venomous, Joel Rosario, 122; Surrey Star, Chantal Sutherland, 122; El Pocho, Hector Berrios, 122; Irish Art, Rafael Bejarano, 122; Cozy Kitten, Alonso Quinonez, 122; Ultimate Eagle, Martin Pedroza, 122 and Willcox Inn, Robby Albarado, 122.
The Hollywood Derby will run as the ninth race Sunday, with a post time of 4:37 p.m. The ten-race program also includes the Grade 3 Generous Stakes for two-year-olds at one mile on the turf.