04/06/2012 12:57PM

Derby Gold just may live up to his name


ARCADIA, Calif. – Derby Gold was already named when Arnold Zetcher paid $105,000 for the colt at the 2010 Barretts California Cup yearling sale. Judging from the colt’s first two starts, the name may turn out to be appropriate.

On March 31, Derby Gold won his stakes debut in the $200,000 Echo Eddie Stakes for California-bred 3-year-olds at Santa Anita. By Bertrando, Derby Gold will make his two-turn debut in the $300,000 Snow Chief Stakes at Hollywood Park on April 28, California Gold Rush Day.

As far as starting in a race called a derby, that could come later, Zetcher said.

“They didn’t say which derby,” Zetcher said of the colt’s name. “We’ve got a lot of time as long as he stays healthy.”

The Echo Eddie was Derby Gold’s second start, preceded by a second by a neck in a six-furlong maiden race for California-breds on March 8. Derby Gold led by 3 1/2 lengths before being caught near the finish.

“The first race we considered a win,” Zetcher said. “He just got nailed at the wire.”

Derby Gold was part of a list of prospects that trainer Bob Baffert suggested to Zetcher at the 2010 Barretts sale. The colt is out of River Gold, an unraced mare by Seeking the Gold who was bred in Kentucky by Overbrook Farm.

Bred by Win More Farm of Temecula, Calif., Derby Gold is River Gold’s first winner.

The jump from a loss in a maiden race to a $200,000 stakes did not concern Zetcher.

“I thought he had a good chance,” he said. “Right now, [the Snow Chief] is the next logical step.”

Evening Jewel's top pair of fillies targeting Melair

The winner of the companion race for California-bred fillies on March 31, the Evening Jewel Stakes, has more modest bloodlines.

Warren’s Amber, who could have been claimed for $30,000 last November, won the Evening Jewel in an 11-1 upset. She finished three-quarters of a length in front of 8-5 favorite Starlight Magic in the field of 11.

The first two finishers are expected to start in the $300,000 Melair Stakes for statebred fillies over 1 1/8 miles on Gold Rush Day.

Warren’s Amber is the first stakes winner for her sire Broadway Moon, who is by Theatrical, and her dam, I’m a Cat’s Meow, by Mud Route.

Warren’s Amber is the first foal of I’m a Cat’s Meow to race.

Bred by owner Ben Warren and trained by Jorge Gutierrez, Warren’s Amber has won 2 of 7 starts and $155,550. Gutierrez said the leap to 1 1/8 miles in the Melair will be a test.

“I’m a little worried about the mile-and-an-eighth after the shorter race,” he said.

Warren’s Amber has not won beyond 6 1/2 furlongs. Third in the fillies division of the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes on Dec. 26, Warren’s Amber was third in her first start of 2012, a starter allowance over a mile on turf on Feb. 23. Gutierrez was encouraged by that loss, thinking that she will be adaptable to races around two turns.

“I ran her long on the grass first time and she handled it quite well,” he said. “She got in a bit of trouble. She only ran the last sixteenth.”

Starlight Magic will start in the Melair Stakes, if she trains well in coming weeks, trainer Mark Glatt said.

He considered the $100,000 Railbird Stakes over seven furlongs at Hollywood Park on May 19, but said the purse of the Melair has swayed his opinion.

“$300,000 is $300,000,” he said. “We’ll point for the Melair. She has to come back and breeze strongly – twice – and we’ll take it from there.

Owned by Corey Wagner, Starlight Magic won the California Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita last October.