11/20/2011 6:23PM

Hollywood Derby will be uncharted territory for Venomous

Shigeki Kikkawa
Venomous, second in last month's Oak Tree Derby, will try to stretch out to 1 1/4 miles for next Sunday's Hollywood Derby.

INGLEWOOD, Calif.- Venomous was the colt who was flying through deep stretch of the Grade 2 Oak Tree Derby at Santa Anita on Oct. 15, making up more than five lengths to finish a half-length behind upset winner Ultimate Eagle.

The Oak Tree Derby was run over 1 1/8 miles, at the time the longest race of Venomous’s 13-race career. He will run even farther in Sunday’s $250,000 Hollywood Derby over 1 1/4 miles on turf.

Logic dictates that the added distance will suit Venomous, who was Group 1 stakes-placed in France earlier this year. The Oak Tree Derby performance has left new trainer Leonard Powell optimistic about Sunday’s race.

“The one question mark will be the distance,” Powell said. “In Europe, he was racing in miles. Last time, I don’t think the extra furlong bothered him.”

The Hollywood Derby field is expected to include Ultimate Eagle and Cozy Kitten, who was third in the Oak Tree Derby. Other probable starters are Casino Host, Cloud Man, Imagining, Irish Art, Surrey Star, and Willcox Inn, who won three turf stakes for 3-year-olds on the Chicago circuit earlier this year.

There are two European runners. Slumber, the winner of the James Seymour Stakes over 1 1/4 miles in his fifth career start at Newmarket on Oct. 29, and Western Aristocrat, who won his U.S. debut in the Grade 1 Jamaica Handicap at Belmont Park on Oct. 8.

Powell has been encouraged by Venomous’s five-furlong breeze in 1:01 at Hollywood Park on Saturday. Powell timed the last quarter-mile in “23 and change.”

Owned by Magalen Bryant, Venomous was trained by Tony Clout in France, and for his start in the United States in the Oak Tree Derby. The highlight of Venomous’s French career was a third in the French 2000 Guineas in May as a 25-1 outsider.

Venomous can win his first Grade 1 race in the Hollywood Derby, an achievement that Powell, 35, has to accomplish in his training career.

“It would be a good way to end the year and start the next year, too,” he said.