Updated on 09/15/2011 12:57PM

Dr. Park well rested for Del Mar Derby

Benoit & Associates
La Jolla Handicap winner Marine is one of three Frankel-trained horses in the Del Mar Derby field of 10.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Dr. Park was such a convincing winner of the Oceanside Stakes on July 18 that he seemed a candidate to sweep the three turf stakes for 3-year-olds at Del Mar.

But before trainer John Sadler left the winner's circle that day, he nixed the idea, saying Dr. Park would skip the La Jolla Handicap on Aug. 11 in favor of Monday's $300,000 Del Mar Derby.

Sadler stuck by his plan, and has been rewarded with a colt who's likely to be favored in a competitive running of the Grade 2 Derby.

"He's not a huge horse and I think three races would have been too much," Sadler said. "He puts a lot of effort into his races."

A winner of 4 of 7 starts, Dr. Park won the Oceanside Stakes by two lengths to post his second stakes win of the year. In April, he finished in a dead heat for first in the Grade 3 Will Rogers Handicap.

In May, he finished a well-beaten second in the USA Stakes at Lone Star Park on a soft course. "He showed in the Oceanside that he didn't like that surface," Sadler said. "It rained and it was a bog."

Owned by CRK Stable, Dr. Park ran perhaps the best race of his career in the Oceanside. But he will need to run even better to win the Derby, which has attracted Indygo Shiner (the winner of the Grade 3 Jefferson Cup), Marine (La Jolla Handicap), Mizzen Mast (Prix de Guiche), Romanceishope (Snow Chief Stakes), Sigfreto (Oceanside Stakes, first division), and Sligo Bay (Cinema Handicap).

Bobby Frankel starts three of the 10 runners - Marine and Mizzen Mast, who will be coupled, and Blue Steller, a six-length maiden winner July 29.

Frankel is particularly excited about Blue Steller, who was winless in five starts in France but was fourth in two group stakes races.

"He was running with good horses," Frankel said.

Adding depth to the field are Euribor, who was second to Dr. Park in the Oceanside but rebounded to win an allowance race by

7 1/2 lengths Aug. 5; and Royal Ambition, fifth in the National Racing Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 6.

The Del Mar Derby is Dr. Park's first start at 1 1/8 miles, an issue that is not a concern to Sadler.

"The way he's trained, I don't think it will be a problem," Sadler said. "I think he's very good on a tight course like this. If he needs to kick, he can kick."

for Del Mar Derby Past Performances.