ARCADIA, Calif. (March 26, 2010) – While providing leading trainer John Sadler with his third Santa Anita feature victory in as many days, Distorted Dave just may have run himself into the Kentucky Derby with a 4 ¼-length victory in Friday’s $48,400 allowance event for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles.

“We’re going to try to backdoor our way into the Derby by running in the Coolmore at Keeneland,” Sadler said afterward in reference to the Grade II, $300,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes on April 17.

Nominated to the Triple Crown races, 4-1 shot Distorted Dave gave evidence of his budding potential on Friday by overhauling the dueling favorites in midstretch and drawing off to win in 1:43.16.

Joel Rosario kept the Kentucky-bred son of Distorted Humor in third position down the backside as 19-10 second choice Big Man Has a Sign and a tracking 11-10 favorite, Indian Firewater, separated themselves from the others in a field of six.

Indian Firewater, with Martin Garcia aboard, pulled even with Big Man Has a Sign, ridden by Martin Pedroza, entering the stretch as Distorted Dave unleashed a powerful late kick on the far outside. Big Man Has a Sign regained second by a neck at the wire.

The winner paid $10, $4.20 and $2.40. Big Man Has a Sign returned $3.80 and $2.40 while Indian Firewater paid $2.10 to show.

It was the second victory in four starts for Distorted Dave, who had chased Indian Firewater in his previous two outings.

“He improved a lot in his last race,” Sadler said. “He finished real strong. We felt he was coming into his own going into this race.”

Sadler, who gained his 34th win at the meet with Distorted Dave, made an equipment change prior to the race. He added small blinkers because, according to his trainer, the colt was “spotty” in his previous start.

Owned by Highfield Stock Farm & Johnson, Distorted Dave earned $28,800 on Friday to bring his total income to $59,040. He will need to add to his graded earnings in the April 17 event at Lexington to be considered for the Kentucky Derby.

The Grade III, $100,000 Tokyo City Cup marathon at 1 ½ miles heads Saturday’s 10-race program with first post at 12:30 p.m.