HOL Derby (Grade 1)- $300.000 Purse
DMR- For Three Year Olds
One Mile and One Eighth on the Turf
November 30, 2019
The top two finishers in the BC Turf at the start of the month are set to battle one another again here on Saturday for the 16th running of the HOL Derby, which is run at DMR now for the sixth year. Being able to see both Dead Madness and Sumi Gaeshi going at it again provides the initial storyline, but there are plenty of others in this field coming off great results that are primed to steal the show. Last year, the race was on by Sezarchai in a race that did not have the same kind of BC headliners that we will have this year. Let’s enjoy this race. Here’s the field!
#1- Sumi Gaeshi (Maxmillion Farm, ridden by E Maldonado)- Earlier this month, Sumi Gaeshi was less then a length shy of winning the BC Turf, where he finished second to Dead Madness. It was the second race for him in a three week period, and that race was none other then Grade 1 Pattison up north at WO. When you’re going good, you need to keep going out there, and he is certainly capable of reversing the script on Dead Madness here, even though the shorter distance could benefit his rival a little more. Let’s see if he can stay hot!
#2-Homme de Guerre (John Henry, ridden by Mario Gutierrez)- While the trainer also starts the BC Turf champion here, that’s not the only threat he has in the race. Homme de Guerre won his debut for John Henry nearly three full months ago in the Grade 2 DMR Derby. That was his second straight win, as he also took a $100.000 stake with prior trainer, Blushing Meadows. The only question here is probably why he has not raced in so long, given his form, but the trainer probably just wanted to take a long look at what he had.
#3- Soviet Warrior (Mb Stables, ridden by M Tunon)- Comes off of a win at the beginning of the month, doing so at WO in the Grade 2 Autumn Stakes. He’s had a strong year, especially since the spring, where he has since grabbed at least some portion of the purse in his last eight starts. His last two races have been great, but were on the dirt. Three starts back, though, he was third in the $1,000.000 KD Turf Cup, so that would explain the return to the grass. Back to back bullet works also have a lot to do with it!
#4- Kray Kray Kray (Blushing Meadows, ridden by F Pennington)- In his last start, Kray Kray Kray went wire to wire to win the NY-bred Mohawk six weeks ago. Prior to that, he made his stake debut in the Grade 2 National Museum of Racing at SAR and it seemed as though he just ran out of time there in the fourth place effort. He’ll like going a little longer here, and he is a good option for those who want to go outside the box of the top two from the BC Turf in their picks.
#5- Sunlander (Estero Farms, ridden by J R Velazquez)- One of many in his field that is coming off a win. For Sunlander, that came at SA on the undercard of the BC day, winning the Grade 2 Twilight. In the race, he earned a 102 SRF, so he is certainly ready now to take on those who did run in the bigger races that day. Before that, he ran second in the nutty $1,000.000 JC Derby at BEL, so there is no question that he is on good form. If he runs like he did in the Twilight, then no reason why he can’t get the win here.
#6- Prince Of Theories (Mb Stables, ridden by A Beschizza)- The second of the two entries in the field for Mb Stables, and it may be the case that we see this one go to the front, and that will be because that is how he has proven that he runs the best. After a four race winning streak, he has now been second in his last two races, each a pair of Grade 2’s. The most recent one was the Hill Prince where he was narrow beaten by Dead Madness. No shame in that.
#7- Dead Madness (John Henry, ridden by R Bejarano)- It is not always a given that a horse will come out of the BC, even if they won, and maintain their strong form within our virtual world. For Dead Madness, that form is much more then the BC Turf victory, too. If we throw out the nutty JC Derby because of its pace, where he was still third, then Dead Madness has won his last five. That includes the Hill Prince, and two more grade ones: the AP Million and the BEL Derby. He is doing nothing wrong right now, and it will be silly to not pick him to win here.
#8- Tourniquet (Mo Mentum Farm, ridden by T C Baze)- The gelding has run well against ON -breds, highlighted by a win in the $400.000 Birdstone on yielding turf in mid-August. After that win, Mo Mentum Farm challenged Tourniquet even more, running him in a pair of Grade 1’s, and then the unofficial BC race, the Grade 2 Marathon at SA. His results have been fair, but not awe-inspiring. Perhaps, going shorter then twelve furlongs will help him out here.
#9- Argead (Aml Racing, ridden by K J Desormeaux)- Picked up in the June auction for $160.000, he has turned in to a pretty good purchase for Aml Racing, with two wins in their three starts together. Moving him to the grass has proven to be successful, and he returned to the graded ranks in his last start by winning the Grade 2 City of Hope Mile at SA. In that win, he was especially impressive in the stretch, so the added furlong will only benefit him further.