Strong Constitution- Benoit Photo
Befitting its Grade I status, a field of 3-year-olds of both quality and quantity was entered Sunday for next Saturday’s 79th running of the Hollywood Derby.
The 1 1/8-mile turf event, won by California Chrome in its initial Del Mar edition in 2014 as a springboard to Horse of the Year honors, had 13 set as the entry deadline approached Sunday morning. Among the group were five shippers from East Coast-based trainers with two from Christophe Clement and one each from Chad Brown, George Weaver and Thomas M. Bush.
Clement is sending out Decorated Invader, a winner of the Grade II Pennine Ridge Stakes at Belmont Park and the Grade II Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga last summer and Gufo, a winner as the favorite of the Belmont Derby on October 3.
Brown is dispatching Domestic Spending, a winner of the Saratoga Derby Invitational in August by a head over Gufo; Weaver will be represented by Ever Dangerous, fresh from a win in a $150,000 stakes at Keeneland on November 6, and Bush sends Get Smokin, a wire-to-winner of the Grade II Hill Prince on a yielding Belmont turf on October 18.
Joel Rosario, who has ridden Decorated Invader for Clement for the son of Declaration of War’s last five starts, was in the irons for a 4-furlong workout in 51.66 seconds this morning at Belmont Park. Stablemate Gufo also worked the same time and distance.
“He put in a good work,” Rosario said by phone while en route from Belmont to Aqueduct for the Sunday card. “He’s doing very well and hopefully he’ll make the trip well and run a good race.”
A supplemental entry, at a $3,000 cost, was Roadrunner Racing and Sayjay Racing’s Strongconstitution. The Kentucky-bred son of Constitution, a $220,000 purchase at a 2-year-old in training sale last spring, was second in the Bob Hope last year and won the Let It Ride Stakes on the second day of the current meeting.
“The Let It Ride was a really good race for him and we’re hoping he can step it up another notch because obviously he’s going to have to against the horses he’ll be up against this time,” trainer Doug O’Neill said.
The post position draw was scheduled later today. The entrants, in alphabetical order with jockeys in parenthesis: California Kook (Juan Hernandez); Decorated Invader (Rosario); Domestic Spending (Irad Ortiz, Jr.); Ever Dangerous (Victor Espinoza); Get Smokin (Mike Smith); Gufo (Flavien Prat); Kanderel (Geovanni Franco); Lane Way (Drayden Van Dyke); Scarto (Manuel Franco); Smooth Like Strait (Umberto Rispoli); Storm The Court (Juan Hernandez); Strongconstitution (Abel Cedillo), and Taishan (Jose Valdivia, Jr.).