02/15/2017 11:00AM

More Power to Him enters El Camino Real Derby a colt on the rise

Vassar Photography
More Power to Him (right) runs second to So Conflated last month in the California Derby at Golden Gate Fields.

Things are going good at Golden Gate Fields for trainer Faith Taylor.

Last Saturday, Shari finished third for Taylor in the California Oaks at Golden Gate, earning coveted black type. On Sunday, she brought the undefeated stakes winner Llobo back to her Golden Gate Fields barn from her farm in nearby Clayton, Calif.

Taylor’s meet might get a lot better Saturday, when she sends More Power to Him in the Grade 3, $200,000 El Camino Real Derby.

More Power to Him finished second in the California Derby at Golden Gate to the Doug O’Neill-trained So Conflated. More Power to Him won’t have to face So Conflated again Saturday, but will have to deal with another O’Neill trainee, California Cup Derby winner Ann Arbor Eddie.

More Power to Him, a California-bred by Slew’s Tiznow, was bred and is owned by horseshoer Brett Mason, the son of trainer Lloyd Mason. A late May foal, More Power to Him was fourth and seventh sprinting last fall in his first two starts, but has two wins and has finished second and third in stakes since stretching out to two turns.

Ridden by Alejandro Gomez, More Power to Him took the lead in the stretch of last month’s 1 1/16-mile California Derby and looked a winner until So Conflated put in his late run. More Power to Him did hold second easily over Colonel Samsen, who had beaten him in the one-mile Gold Rush in December. In between those stakes, More Power to Him won a one-mile optional claimer at Golden Gate.

:: Like this article? Get access to all premium articles, real-time coverage, special reports, and charts. Unlock access with DRF Plus.

Taylor is a former professional rodeo rider who worked her way up from hotwalker to become an assistant to trainer Charlie Comiskey and then Lloyd Mason. She took over as trainer for Mason’s horses when he retired last year, and she won last August with her first starter.

Taylor said “it’s a little different” to be the trainer of a runner of More Power to Him’s potential.

“I’ve always been excited just to be around horses like this, even when galloping them,” she said.

More Power to Him is not nominated to the Triple Crown, but he does have a chance to pick up Kentucky Derby qualifying points in the El Camino Real. Whether he will be nominated later to the Triple Crown will be up to owner Mason, Taylor said.

“Let’s see how he does in the El Camino,” she said.

“He’s maturing, growing up. He ran like we wanted him to in the California Derby. He was very controllable. He rated nicely. The rider thought he got a little anxious and maybe moved a little early.”

If More Power to Him shows enough Saturday to warrant a road trip to another Kentucky Derby prep, Taylor thinks he’ll be able to handle it.

“He’s smart, relaxed, and laid-back at the track,” she said.

As for the 3-year-old Llobo, he was sidelined with a tendon problem, Taylor said, and hasn’t raced since winning the Everett Nevin at Oak Tree at Pleasanton last summer in his second start.

“We were going to bring him back in March, but it was so muddy back at my farm that we brought him in a couple weeks early,” Taylor said.

She has high hopes for Llobo but won’t rush him back.

“It’s such a fine line to do enough with them to get them ready,” she said.

Lost in the Fog tops Monday card

The $50,000-added Lost in the Fog on Monday will complete the big holiday weekend of racing at Golden Gate Fields.

The six-furlong sprint for older horses has 15 nominees this year, including Star Student, Indian Brut, and Mah Gellin, the top three in the six-furlong Oakland on Nov. 19.

Mah Gellin was third in last year’s Lost in the Fog.

Other nominees include Mister Brightside, who was a sprint stakes winner in England; Pure Comedy, Quick and Silver, and Malibu Alex, who each is coming off a win at Golden Gate Fields; and recent Santa Anita winners Texas Two Step and Twirling Tiger.