Updated on 09/17/2011 9:37PM

Derby has odds-on pick in Texcess


ALBANY, Calif. - Saturday's $100,000 Golden Gate Derby could provide northern California racing fans with a view of one of the key 3-year-olds on this year's scene.

, a winner of 3 of 4 starts, including the $1 million Delta Jackpot, will be the odds-on choice in the 1 1/16-mile Golden Gate Derby. Texcess was cross-entered in Saturday's one-mile San Rafael at Santa Anita but was vanned Thursday from his home base at Hollywood Park to Golden Gate.

"It was my choice," said trainer Paul Aguirre, who owns the gelding with Omar Aldabbaugh.

Dover Dere, winner of the Gold Rush Stakes at Golden Gate Fields in his last start, was also entered in both the 1 1/16-mile Derby and the San Rafael.

Early in the week, Dover Dere's trainer Doug O'Neill backed away from the Derby because he did not want to run against Texcess.

Texcess, who lost the $100,000 Barretts Juvenile by a head in his debut, has won three straight races at 1 1/16 miles, including the Cal Cup Juvenile.

"He needs to run," Aguirre said. "This horse likes to do something. I'd like to get a race into him without cutting back in distance."

Texcess figures to end up on the lead against four rivals, who seem overmatched.

Aguirre first tried to buy Texcess when he was six months old. He says this son of In Excess is the best horse he has ever trained. "I've had some horses that have been as talented but didn't live up to it on the racetrack," he said. "I don't know what the limit is on this horse. I haven't seen it yet.

"At six months, he looked like he was a year-and-a-half. He's a big, powerful horse."

Even though Aguirre has never been on the Derby trail, he has studied the routes of previous Derby winners, and said, "Getting there is one thing, but to have a horse with something left to give is another."

Although Texcess has earned $725,427, he does not have any graded-stakes earnings. Aguirre, who would like to run in the Louisiana Derby, is not concerned because he still has time to accumulate the needed earnings.

Hall of Famer Russell Baze will ride Texcess in the Golden Gate Derby, which factored into Aguirre's decision to run here.

"I'd like to have a great rider who knows the horse," he said.