Saturday, November 26, 2011

First three Oak Tree Derby finishers meet again Sunday in Hollywood Derby

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.

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