Updated on 09/17/2011 10:53AM

Ministers Wild Cat wins Golden State Mile

Vassar Photo
Heavily-favored Ministers Wild Cat ($2.40) is clear of Winning Stripes at the wire in the Golden State Mile at Golden Gate Fields on Sunday.

ALBANY, Calif. - "We accomplished what we wanted to do," jockey Kent Desormeaux said after guiding Kentucky Derby hopeful Ministers Wild Cat to a 1 1/4-length victory in the $66,950 Golden State Mile at Golden Gate Fields on Sunday.

The 1-to-5 shot sat three wide just off an honest early pace set by Natural Balance before taking over into the stretch. He opened a clear lead and was not seriously challenged late by Winning Stripes despite drifting in late. The winning time for the one-mile race was 1:36.89.

The race was strictly a learning experience as Ministers Wild Cat earned his first stakes win while attempting two turns for the first time. He ran second in a 6 1/2-furlong race in his debut then won wire-to-wire at seven furlongs.

He was kept wide through the first three-quarters of a mile, and when he wanted to take the lead entering the backstretch, Desormeaux restrained him to keep him with horses.

He moved nicely on the turn but ran greenly in the lane, jumping tire tracks and drifting in late as Desormeaux did not go to his whip.

"It's hard to say how much more he had because of his gawking in the lane," Desormeaux said. "He wasn't laying his body down, and he jumped over tracks, but it's all part of maturing."

Trainer Neil Drysdale said he wanted Desormeaux to keep the son of Deputy Minister out of Hollywood Wildcat wide because "we didn't want him to get boxed in."

"The idea was to have him around horses," Drysdale said. "When he won his maiden, he broke on top and way by himself."

Drysdale called the race a "great experience" for his colt but wasn't ready to get carried away by him as a strong Derby contender.

"I'd say that depends on the next race," said Drysdale, who said he had no firm plans for the colt's next start.

The victory was worth $33,650 to lift the colt's earnings to $72,050.