Updated on 09/17/2011 10:50AM

Siberland has little to fear in derby


PHOENIX, Ariz. - Siberland has been unchallenged and untested in two races at Turf Paradise, and unless something strange happens, look for the same scenario Saturday when he goes off an overwhelming favorite in the $100,000 Turf Paradise Derby.

The meet's premier race for 3-year-olds, the derby is the first leg of a stakes tripleheader on Turf Paradise's biggest day of the meet. The Derby is race six on the nine-race card, followed by the $150,000 Turf Paradise Breeders' Cup and the $75,000 Arizona Oaks.

While the other two races are competitive, the Derby looks like a one-horse race, even though four other 3-year-olds were entered against Siberland. Owned by Dennis Weir and trained by Kevin Lewis, Siberland has been dazzling, winning his last four starts, with three of the victories coming in stakes, one at Del Mar and two here.

Siberland won the Rattlesnake in his last start, on Jan. 12. It was his first race around two turns, but he passed the test impressively, romping to an easy victory. In addition to his success at Turf Paradise, Siberland has shown he can compete in Southern California. It was at Del Mar last summer that he won his maiden by more than six lengths, and did it against subsequent stakes winner Crackup. Siberland followed that performance with another six-length-plus victory in the I'm Smokin' Stakes, a sprint restricted to California-breds. In his two Del Mar races, Siberland earned Beyer Speed Figures of 102 and 95.

"It's like driving a Ferrari," said his rider, Glen Corbett, after the Rattlesnake. He has ridden Siberland in his two Turf Paradise stakes wins. "He has natural speed and the power to go faster."

Trainer Lewis has said that success here would send Siberland back to Southern California for bigger game.

The most likely upset candidate would be Southern California invader Robledo. Trained by Vladimir Cerin, Robledo graduated sprinting at Hollywood in November, then came right back and defeated allowance foes in his first route try, at Santa Anita Dec. 28. Sent into the Grade 2 Santa Catalina, Robledo pulled up early and had to be vanned off, but examinations revealed that he was okay.

Since then, Robledo worked twice, including a bullet five furlongs in 59 seconds at Santa Anita Jan. 28, the best of 40 works at the distance.

Southern California shipper Aimees Pride, local maiden winner Kimberleywithaneeh, and New Mexico hotshot Double Intrigue round out the field.

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