09/02/2013 3:01PM

Del Mar Derby winners could meet in Twilight Derby

Shigeki Kikkawa
The California-bred Ethnic Dance wins a division of the Del Mar Derby, his first stakes and first against open company.

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DEL MAR, Calif. - Ethnic Dance and Gabriel Charles, who won divisions of the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby on Sunday, are likely to face off in the Grade 2 Twilight Derby at Santa Anita on Nov. 1, their trainers said Monday morning.

Gabriel Charles, who closed sharply to win the first division, was making only his second start since December, when he fractured his pelvis. His only start since then was on opening day of the Del Mar meet, July 17, when he was an unlucky loser of a division of the Oceanside Stakes. He skipped the La Jolla on Aug. 10 by design.

“The longer time between races the better for him,” said his trainer, Jeff Mullins.

Ethnic Dance scored a front-running victory in the second division of the Del Mar Derby. It was his first start against open company and in a stakes race. He has run five times in the last four months.

“He’s done a lot,” said his trainer, John Sadler. “I don’t want to run him in anything early at Santa Anita. I’m inclined to give him some spacing.”

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By contrast, Sadler said he could bring back Rising Legend in something like the Grade 2 City of Hope Mile against older horses at Santa Anita on Oct. 5. Rising Legend was in the first division of the Del Mar Derby, but was no factor after the saddle slipped under jockey Julien Leparoux.

“He didn’t get a chance to run, so he could come back early,” Sadler said.

[DEL MAR 2013: Complete meet coverage, schedule, race replays]

“Your face just hits the floor,” Sadler said of watching the saddle slip. “But we won the next race, and then with Ethnic Dance, so it just goes to show you’ve got to keep your head up and keep working.”

Debut winner healthy after layoff

Quiet Force makes his first start since his February debut win in Wednesday’s sixth race, a first-level allowance going 1 1/16 miles on turf. Trainer Richard Mandella said Quiet Force was sidelined because he got sick after his 27-1 win, which came in a downhill turf sprint at Santa Anita.

“It was more than a little virus,” Mandella said. “He wasn’t deathly sick, but I had to turn him out.”

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Quiet Force has had a steady series of long works for his return, with six drills at six furlongs or farther since the meet began.

“He’s training very nice,” Mandella said. “I expect him to run well.”

◗ The fourth race on Wednesday is for maiden 2-year-olds going 5 1/2 furlongs, and it drew 14 entrants, including four also-eligibles. Rafael Bejarano, the meet’s leading rider, is on first-time starter Big Medicine Man, a son of Indian Charlie who cost $195,000 at Barretts in March. “He’s fast,” said his trainer, Eoin Harty.