04/25/2011 7:43PM

California dreamless


California can feel a sense of pride when a 3-year-old ships out and wins on the road.

It happened when The Factor won the Rebel at Oaklawn Park. It happened when Twice the Appeal finished second in the Turf Paradise Derby, and won the Sunland Derby.

The Factor won. Twice the Appeal won. That is all. It is a short list of winning shippers.

Perhaps others that raced at Santa Anita would have made a splash if they stayed sound – horses such as Sham one-two finishers Tapizar and Clubhouse Ride, or San Felipe one-two finishers Premier Pegasus and Jaycito. They are out.

As spring arrives, it appears the remaining California 3-year-olds are a cut below.

Silver Medallion continued the trend in the Lexington Stakes. A surprising lopsided 1.30-1 favorite after finishing fourth in the Santa Anita Derby, Silver Medallion regressed and finished off the board.

The Factor, a Santa Anita Grade 2 winner, was ready to take on the world after crushing the Rebel at Oaklawn. He displaced next out and finished seventh as the Arkansas Derby favorite.

Indian Winter won a sprint stakes in his Jan. 17 comeback at Santa Anita, then shipped to Arizona and finished a distant third as the odds-on favorite in the Turf Paradise Derby.

J P’s Gusto did not race at Santa Anita, but was among the top California 2-year-olds last fall. Then he shipped to Arkansas and got progressively worse at Oaklawn – second as the favorite, followed by a seventh and eighth. Good luck in the Kentucky Derby.

Sway Away did something few California shippers have done – he improved. He finished sixth in the Rebel, and then made what looked like a winning move in the Arkansas Derby. But he pulled himself up, and finished fourth. On the road, he is 0-for-2.

Albergatti and Tapaway ran well at Santa Anita. Albergatti shipped to Oaklawn and finished a respectable second as the favorite in a minor stakes. Chalk it up as another beaten favorite. Tapaway, a maiden, regressed in his next start at Fair Grounds.

The bottom line is the 3-year-old shippers from California have accomplished little outside the state.

Fusa Code shipped from Santa Anita and upset the Borderland Derby at Sunland, then regressed and was unplaced in the Sunland Derby. Le Mans was nowhere at 48-1 in the Louisiana Derby.

Special Kid, a Santa Anita maiden winner, finished third as the Borderland favorite. Southern Sculptor shipped to Hawthorne and beat one horse as a 30-1 longshot in the Illinois Derby.

The 2011 Derby crop appears fairly average. The 3-year-olds that raced this winter in California are perhaps a little less than that.

The disappointing finish by Lexington favorite Silver Medallion was not a shocker.

Nor will it be a surprise if California shippers Midnight Interlude and Comma to the Top – one-two in the Santa Anita Derby – find they are in over their heads in the Kentucky Derby.