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Golden Gate Fields: Patient ride by Valdivia enables Dice Flavor to upset El Camino Real Derby
By Chuck Dybdal
ALBANY, Calif. -- Jose Valdivia Jr. was quite content to sit back as Manando set a brisk pace in the 32nd running of the Grade 3, $200,000 El Camino Real Derby on Saturday at Golden Gate Fields.
And when the real running began in the 1 1/8-mile race, Dice Flavor made a strong move and outraced Nina's Dragon to the wire in a victory that earned him 10 points in the 36-race Road to the Kentucky Derby series.
Dice Flavor ($21), a son of Scat Daddy, who also sired last year's El Camino Real Derby winner Daddy Nose Best, had run his first four starts on the turf. Earlier in the day at Tampa Bay Downs, Dice Flavor's half-brother, Swift Warrior, won the $150,000 Tampa Bay Stakes on the turf for their dam Afleet Summer.
While Manando gunned through fractions of 23.10 and 47.34 seconds, Valdivia was far back aboard Dice Flavor, sitting eighth, 10 lengths back after the opening quarter and seventh, 9 1/2 lengths behind after the half.
"I've been watching races here lately and even when horses seem to be going easy up front, they get caught," said Valdivia
The jockey added that he felt he was in a good spot following Zeewat, the 5-2 third choice under Russell Baze, and Carving, Manando's Bob Baffert-trained stablemate.
"At the five-eighths pole, it seemed some riders were beginning to ask their horses. My horse was pretty comfortable,” Valdivia said.
Manando was racing unchallenged to the quarter pole as Wildcat Moon was content to let him go early.
The field began to logjam into the stretch as Manando faded all the way to last as the 2-1 favorite. Valdivia had to make a quick move aboard the Patrick Gallagher-trained Dice Flavor to split third-place finisher Counting Days and eventual second-place finisher Nina's Dragon.
"If he hesitated behind [Counting Days], he gets blocked," said Valdivia. "If he doesn't get through, the race is over, but he responded immediately."
As he split rivals, Dice Flavor stuck his head in front and was not pushed through the stretch as he pulled clear, winning the race by 3 3/4 lengths in 1:51.45.
Nina's Dragon at 13-1 was second, three-quarters of a length in front of 25-1 Counting Days.
Dice Flavor earned $120,000 for owner Nobuo Oda, improving his bankroll to $190,500.
"9 Pay The Line!"
Very professional effort. Seemed to be some what wrapped up at the wire. Not much behind him. I have to wait and see on him. However there is room for much more from this horse.
Horribly ran race, you could run it a dozen times and not get similar results. Number of horse lost all chance in log jam in deep stretch.
Congrats to the dam of Dice Flavor. She had another graded stakes winner on the same day, Swift Warrior!
this winner was not even derby nominated. this winner has not used lasix. keep the horses off of the sauce when they are 2 and they will improve much more. dont pay any attention.
ain't this why we keep racing horses around that oblong circle???????????????????
Nice race but he's all Turf plus this Synthetic win. Means nothing regarding the Derby. GG races- not a good prep for the Derby. Only if this horse is a freak, could he be a Derby contender. Beat absolutely nothing today.
Dice Flavor makes the Derby and my Pool 1 choice looks even better. Dice Flavors best rag prior to this race was a 12 on turf. I can't imagine this race scored lower than a 10. Certainly might make a dream a reality for the owners but won't put any hardware on their mantle on May 4th.
This prep changes absolutely nothing about the outcome of the Derby. Way to go Bob! Your plan of compromising the entire field for Carving almost worked. Extremely irrelevant race that will turn up extremely weak on the Sheets. Next prep is when?
Derby winner right here!
- 1.Posted 12/05/2013 01:44PM
- 2.Posted 12/05/2013 04:54PM
- 3.Posted 12/06/2013 03:20PM
- 4.Posted 12/07/2013 07:42PM
- 5.Posted 12/07/2013 03:42PM