11/23/2012 2:56PM

Hollywood Park: Grandeur may be even better going longer in Hollywood Derby

Emily Shields
The firm ground of the Santa Anita turf course for the Twilight Derby was an asset for Grandeur, who will find similar conditions Sunday.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Grandeur seemed to win the Grade 2 Twilight Derby at Santa Anita on Nov. 2 with something in reserve. He can prove it when he starts in the first Grade 1 race of his career in Sunday’s $250,000 Hollywood Derby at Betfair Hollywood Park.

Trained in England by Jeremy Noseda, Grandeur closed from eighth in a field of nine in the Twilight Derby to win by a half-length under jockey William Buick. The manner of his finish suggested that he would have won by a wider margin in a longer race.

The Twilight Derby was over 1 1/8 miles on turf. The Hollywood Derby is run over 1 1/4 miles on turf.

The firm ground of the Santa Anita turf course was an asset for Grandeur, who will find similar conditions Sunday.

“He’s very good, as he was at Santa Anita,” said Wayne Tanner, an assistant to Noseda. “Firm ground is his thing.”

Garrett Gomez will ride Grandeur on Sunday. Buick is in Japan for the Japan Cup.

For the Hollywood Derby, Grandeur is part of a full field of 14, which actually drew 15 entrants, with Groovin’ Solo on the also-eligible list.

The race drew nine stakes winners, including Golden Ticket, who finished in a dead heat for first in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga in August; Handsome Mike, who won the Pennsylvania Derby in September; and My Best Brother, who won the Del Mar Derby in September but was only fifth in the Twilight Derby.

Unbridled Command has won four consecutive races, including the Grade 3 Saranac Stakes at Saratoga in September, and is making his Grade 1 debut. There will be plenty of support for Summer Front, who was a troubled third in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park in August and the Grade 1 Jamaica Handicap at Belmont Park last month.

In addition, there are three horses who have placed in stakes, notably the filly Rjwa, who was second in the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary in France in May.

The Twilight Derby was Grandeur’s first stakes win. In England, he won two handicaps, which are not considered stakes there, at Goodwood in May and August. Both races were over 1 1/4 miles on turf. He was third in the Group 3 Winter Hill Stakes at Windsor, England, in August on a soft turf course that did not suit him, Tanner said.

In the Twilight Derby, Grandeur overcame a stumble at the start to beat Speaking of Which, an Irish invader who is part of the Hollywood Derby field.

“He was very good at Santa Anita,” Tanner said. “He came out of the race great.”

The distance should not pose a problem for Rjwa, the lone filly in the field. Trained by Francois Rohaut, Rjwa was third in the French Oaks in June and fifth in the Group 1 Prix de l’Opera on soft ground at Longchamp Racecourse on Oct. 7.

The condition of the turf course was against Rjwa last month, Rohaut said Friday on the Hollywood Park backstretch.

“It was very, very heavy,” Rohaut said. “Coming into the straight, she was going better than anyone in the field. She tired in the last furlong. She could have been third on good ground.

“It’s why we are here – to find the firm ground.”