08/01/2013 2:11PM

Santa Rosa: Robert Dupret Derby good spot for Rush In

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SANTA ROSA, Calif. – When Billy Morey arranged for the purchase of Rush In last fall, he hoped that lighning would strike twice. Morey bought Positive Response in 2011, and the gelding has gone on to be a multiple stakes winner.

While Rush In has yet to win a stakes, he has turned out to be a solid allowance horse, and on Saturday at the Sonoma County Fair he is a top contender in the $50,000-added Robert Dupret Derby for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Morey ran Rush In in the one-mile Gold Rush Stakes in December after purchasing him the previous month from a win in a $30,000 maiden claimer at Churchill Downs. Rush In finished fourth and later ran eighth in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby in his only other stakes appearance.

Rush In’s last two races have been strong. He finished second in an allowance race on the Golden Gate turf in May, rallying from far back to miss by a neck, and then won an allowance sprint at Sacramento last month.

Rush In’s turf debut impressed Morey enough that he immediately set his sights on the Dupret.

“We gave him a little time then brought him back in a sprint at Sacramento so he’d be ready for this,” said Morey.

Rush In’s sire, Langfuhr, is a successful turf sire, and Morey said getting the gelding on the turf “was in the back of our mind when we got him.”

Rush In’s off-the-pace running style should play well on the course, which has begun to favor late-runners.

“He’s taken a little longer to respond, but he’s going well now,” said Morey, who is hoping for a big stakes weekend with Rush In running Saturday and Positive Response running in Sunday’s Joseph Grace.

Nine 3-year-olds were entered in the Dupret, with six of them seeking a first turf victory.

Southern California invader Miceli has four turf victories, including a win in an $80,000 optional claimer at Hollywood Park in his last start on May 5. He’s had three recent works at Del Mar to prepare for the race.

Prime Issue is 2 for 3 on the turf with wins in his past two starts, both at the $12,500 level. His sire, Tannersmyman, won the James Lyttle for 3-year-olds on the main track here.

Heat Streaker won a maiden race on the turf at Golden Gate Fields and was fourth in a contentious edition of the Silky Sullivan on the turf June 8. Surfcup and Gervinho, the top two finishers in the race, have come back to win.

Olympic Blue beat Rush In on the turf in spring.

North Pacific was eighth in his turf debut.

Making their turf debuts are Tribal Money, the stakes winner Outside Nashville, Awesome Silver, and Our Cognac Kid.