11/02/2012 9:14PM

Santa Anita: Grandeur wins U.S. debut and points to Holywood Derby


ARCADIA, Calif. - Grandeur won his United States debut in $150,000 Twilight Derby at Santa Anita, the last race on the Breeders' Cup Friday program. It may not be his final start in California this month.

Trainer Jeremy Noseda said in the winner’s circle that Grandeur will be pointed for the $250,000 Hollywood Derby over 1 1/4 miles on turf at Betfair Hollywood Park on Nov. 25.

“I thought he would be suited by American racing, and he proved that today,” said Noseda, who trained in California in 1996-1997.

Ridden by William Buick, Grandeur ($12.60) closed from last in a field of nine to win the Grade 2 Twilight Derby by a half-length over Speaking of Which, the 5-2 favorite. Smart Ellis was third.

[BREEDERS' CUP 2012: Friday results and video replays]

After stumbling at the start, Grandeur settled at the back of the field. He emerged between horses in the stretch and responded to Buick’s urging. An Irish-bred gelding by Verglas, Grandeur took the lead in the final sixteenth. He ran 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:46.78.

“He loves firm ground,” Noseda said. “The race set up with plenty of pace.”

Grandeur’s chances were helped by a speed duel between Hoist and My Best Brother, who fought through a quarter-mile pace of 23.47 and half mile in 46.48 seconds. They faded from contention in the final furlong, with My Best Brother finishing fifth and Hoist running last.

Speaking of Which, who led in deep stretch, finished a length in front of Smart Ellis.

The win was only a minor consolation for Buick, who was third aboard The Fugue in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf earlier in the day. The Fugue, who was favored, had traffic trouble when he was trapped along the rail in the stretch and was beaten 1 1/4 lengths by Zagora.

“I’m disappointed for the connections of The Fugue,” he said. “She should have won. All in all, it’s a disappointing day.”

Grandeur races for Yvonne Jacques of England, who made her first trip to the races in the United States on Friday.

Grandeur has won 5 of 10 starts and $198,438. In England, his biggest win was the $69,900 Betfred the Bonus King Stakes at Goodwood in August, a handicap over 1 1/4 miles on turf against 17 rivals.

Buick thinks that American racing will suit Grandeur.

“He’s a Grade 1 horse,” he said. “He’ll win the Hollywood Derby.”