02/16/2013 10:40PM

Golden Gate Fields: Patient ride by Valdivia enables Dice Flavor to upset El Camino Real Derby

Marcel Langevin/Vasser Photography
Dice Flavor, making his first start on the main track after four races on turf, upsets the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby under jockey Jose Valdivia.

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.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

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.



pathagan More than 1 year ago
"9 Pay The Line!"
John Pisiona More than 1 year ago
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.
Steve Hanna More than 1 year ago
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.
pathagan More than 1 year ago
No one lost their chance in the stretch - plenty of tired horses bumping into one another. The 1-2 finishers were going to finish 1-2 no matter what,
Steve Hanna More than 1 year ago
Watch the race again and watch the #5 as well as others.
Robin Cardoza More than 1 year ago
Congrats to the dam of Dice Flavor. She had another graded stakes winner on the same day, Swift Warrior!
[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
When you don't understand something, you should refrain from vehemently objecting it. If you even know how to use the Sheets, you can do a little research to find that the three races leading to Super Savers Kentucky derby looked like this: 6,8,4. He showed up to the Derby matching his career best with another 4. I too bet him. Congratulations on your victory. Now a little history for you, my friend that knows it all. Horses since 1973 that have won the Derby with an effort of "4". Affirmed, Gato del Sol, Sunnys Halo, Swale, Grindstone, Charismatic, and OOPS, I'll Have Another. Ill stick to recent history to make my last point: Super Savers 2 races and Derby- 8,4,4 Animals 2 races and Derby - 9,9,4 Ill have Another's 2 races and Derby- 4,6,4 This year, MY pick (assuming he stays healthy) Itsmyluckyday most recent Rags- 2,2. Add one more prep and Derby? Yeah. I'm a sucker for AWESOMEnESS! :) For all intents and purposes, Itsmyluckyday is Derby ready now and he has outperformed greats in their Derbys just since 1973 named: Cannondale, Foolish Pleasure, Bold Forbes, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, Genuine Risk, Pleasant Colony, Gato del Sol, Sunnys Halo, Swale, Ferdinand, Alysheba, Winning Colors, Sunday Silence, Strike The Gold, Lil E.Tee, Sea Hero, Go For Gin, Thunder Gulch, Grindstone, Silver Charm, Real Quiet, Charismatic, Giacomo, Street Sense, Super Saver and Animal Kingdom. NO other 2013 horses have yet to come close to Itsmyluckydays back to back 2's. You keep handicapping breeze times. Ill stick to solid evidence. Thank you Len Ragozin for paying for my trip to Arcadia this past November to purchase ten $25 WIN tickets on Fort Larned who opened up at 14-1 and went off at 9-1. HANDICAPPING is what makes sensible bets like that. Study up before you comment next time. How'd that work out for you? Also, pardon the choppiness of this post. It was done from my iPhone.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Black, I can't help but come back here and remind you of the Homerun ball you pitched me. I appreciate ignorant people. They keep the money on names, numbers, undefeated records and irrelevant, weak preps like what the El Camino Real turned up as. I'm not going to come on here and give away money anymore. I just wanted to show you just how uninformed you are. I bet I collect $1.00 more than you from now until May.
jttf More than 1 year ago
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.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Another one. My friend, when Mananado gunned to the lead, I told my wife #9 is winning. This is NOT an outcome that should have happened. The conspirator in me also doesn't feel too good about the horse being unraced on a surface other than turf, being installed as 20-1 on the ML, opening up at 9/2, and then Manando setting absurd fractions which aid a deep closer. Yeah, you think about that for a minute.
jttf More than 1 year ago
mark, itsmyluckyday is running the same schedule as his daddy and getting very similar beyer figs. problem is, his daddy's worst two races were run at churchill at 10 furlongs. soak on that.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Itsmyluckydays last two races, both 2's on the Ragozins show that he doesnt have to run his absolute best to beat what is out there.
Jim Fields More than 1 year ago
ain't this why we keep racing horses around that oblong circle???????????????????
Patrick De Vito More than 1 year ago
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.
Chad Avellar More than 1 year ago
To a derby contender a horse has to be a freak. You are an idiot. !?
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
The race was completely compromised from the start by Manando so really it was a wasted race. If Dice Clay is going to build off of this race, he's on trouble.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
*in* trouble
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
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.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
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?
Jimmy Moroney More than 1 year ago
Stop hating dude!
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Hating or calling it what it is pop?