02/14/2015 8:53PM

Metaboss proves best in El Camino Real Derby

Barbara D. Livingston
Metaboss wins the El Camino Real Derby by 2 1/2 lengths Saturday at Golden Gate Fields.

ALBANY, Calif. – Metaboss ($15.20), coming off a solid maiden victory at 1 1/8 miles, repeated his strong stretch run as he blew past rivals to score an impressive victory Saturday in the $200,525 Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields.

Jockey Alex Solis settled in comfortably and confidently behind a slow pace that saw Indianaughty, Ernest Shackleton, and the favored Conquest Typhoon engage in an Alphonse-and-Gaston routine on the front end.

He was eighth in the field of 10, but Solis said when he asked his colt briefly at the half-mile pole, Metaboss responded nicely.

"He gave me a little kick, and I just took hold and said to be patient," Solis said.

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Indianaughty had a head on Conquest Typhoon through a 1:13.98 fraction for six furlongs, but Metaboss was about to make his move.

Solis got Metaboss in gear while swinging four wide on the turn. He quickly moved from eighth to third and then blew past the leaders. He never was challenged in the lane as he won the race by 2 1/2 lengths in 1:49.92. Cross the Line, forced to check into the first turn, rallied late to edge a tiring Conquest Typhoon by a neck for second.

"He just opened up on them," marveled Solis.

Cross the Line's jockey, Juan Hernandez, offered no excuses and said, "He ran good. I was just second."

Conquest Typhoon's rider, Mike Smith, said his multiple graded stakes-winning mount, who was making his first start since Nov. 30, tired late, costing him second.

"The winner just beat me. That's all," he said. "The winner is a nice horse. I was never going to beat the winner. He beat us pretty handy."

Winning trainer Jeff Bonde said he "didn't crank up [Metaboss, a May 17 foal] early in the year" because he was a late foal.

Metaboss ran third at 6 1/2 furlongs on the turf behind the graded stakes-placed Stormy Liberal in his debut. He was fourth, also at 6 1/2 furlongs, to undefeated graded stakes winner Ocho Ocho Ocho in his second start. He was second to Bolo, who won a stakes in his next start, in his debut around two turns.

"In his sprints, he ran into some tough horses," said Bonde. "It was just a matter of stretching him out. You could see he wanted more distance."

The victory was worth $120,000 and also earned Metaboss, who has career earnings of $177,520, 10 points toward the Kentucky Derby.

"Naturally, when you've got a 3-year-old like this, you're thinking the Kentucky Derby, but there are a lot of steppingstones along the way," said Bonde.

Metaboss was a $10,000 weanling sale by Mersad Metanovic, the bloodstock agent who also found Eclipse winner She's a Tiger for Bonde. The colt was put in last May's Barretts Sale and was sold for $60,000 but was returned said Metanovic, who had been plagued by second thoughts about putting the colt in the sale.

Metanovic, who owns the colt with Michael Arndt, Milan McFetridge, Dan Preiss, and Chuck Azcarate, said the March 21 Spiral Stakes at Turfway would likely be Metaboss' next start.