At the tender age of 23 and already sparkling with an aura of stardom, Drayden Van Dyke returns to his home town of Louisville Saturday to ride in his first Kentucky Derby.

Van Dyke will pilot longshot Instilled Regard in the 144th running of the mile and a quarter classic, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said Sunday morning after the jockey worked the Arch colt five furlongs in 1:00.80 at 6:45 a.m.

Working in company with Magic Musketeer, Instilled Regard had fractional times of 24.80 and 49 flat, with a six furlong gallop out of 1:13.60. “He’s ready to go,” Hollendorfer said after the breeze. Magic Musketeer was timed in 1:01.20.

While a fast pace is anticipated, as well as possible traffic issues in a full field of 20, Instilled Regard likely would benefit from the former, and that’s just fine with Hollendorfer.

“In most (Kentucky) Derbies, there’s quite a bit of pace,” he said, “and I think the distance definitely is not an issue for him. He’ll leave for Kentucky early Monday morning.”

Meanwhile, Van Dyke, mature beyond his years, was concise but on point in anticipation of his debut in the Run for the Roses.

“It’s exciting,” he said, “but I’m well-prepared and ready.”

Also working Sunday for the Kentucky Derby was another longshot, Solomini, trained by Bob Baffert, more prominently known as the conditioner of Santa Anita Derby winner Justify, the undefeated Kentucky Derby favorite.

With Martin Garcia aboard, Solomini went six furlongs in company at 7:45, receiving a final time of 1:14.60, with fractions of 25, 49.80, 1:01.80, and a seven furlong gallop out of 1:28.20. Van Dyke was on stablemate Once On Whiskey, who also went in 1:14.60.

“They stayed together,” Baffert said of the duo. “Solomini is a one-paced kind of horse, but it’s all good.”



Bill Spawr, who began his illustrious if somewhat relatively unheralded career more than four decades ago, will saddle his first Kentucky Oaks runner when he sends out Santa Anita Oaks winner Midnight Bisou in the prestigious Grade I race next Friday, May 4.

“I never ran in the race before,” Spawr said. “I’m undefeated.”

In a more serious vein, Spawr couldn’t be happier with how Midnight Bisou is coming into the Kentucky Oaks.

“Everything’s been perfect,” said earliest of early birds Spawr, usually the first trainer at the barn every morning and the first to depart, unless he has a runner in that day.

Midnight Bisou had her final major workout for the Oaks Saturday, going six furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track in 1:13 flat under jockey Martin Pedroza.

While the 78-year-old Spawr won’t have a runner in the Kentucky Derby, he will have a runner on the card that day in bargain claim Skye Diamonds, who goes in the Grade I Humana Distaff at seven furlongs under Mike Smith.

“I think we’re the only ones from California in those two races,” Spawr said of the Oaks and the Humana Distaff.



With four wins Saturday, Flavien Prat opened a 13-8 lead over Geovanni Franco in Santa Anita’s Spring Meet jockeys’ race and gave the 25-year-old Frenchman momentum going into the Kentucky Derby, in which he will ride Solomini for Bob Baffert.

“It’s wonderful to win four in one day,” said Prat’s agent, Derek Lawson, “and it’s a great way to go into the Kentucky Derby with a lot of momentum and confidence, which he has right now. He believes every horse I put him on is going to win.

“His confidence level is super-high and he’s in great shape mentally and physically–the whole nine yards. He’s ready to attack the Derby and all the other races that he rides.

“He’s got some nice horses to ride including River Boyne for Jeff Mullins in the American Turf Stakes, and of course, Solomini.

            “I know a lot of people are indifferent about his chances, but we’re still high on him, and we’ve been high on him since the first time he rode him, so we’re looking forward, will see how the race shapes up and see what happens.”


FINISH LINES: Bob Baffert’s streaking Dr. Dorr, 7 ¼ length winner of yesterday’s Grade II Californian with Joe Talamo up, got a lofty 108 Beyer speed figure and is being pointed to the Grade I Gold Cup at Santa Anita on May 26 . . . Congratulations to jockey Octavio Vergara Jr. on winning his first race at Santa Anita Saturday. The 30-year-old son of former rider Octavio Vergara Sr. won the second race by a half-length on Over Promised for trainer Robert Falcone Jr., coming through on the fence at a $20.20 payoff. “It was an old-timer’s ride, coming through on the rail,” said the elder Vergara, 61. “Howard Grant, Jerry Lambert, Don Pierce, Angel Cordero, Braulio Baeza, Manuel Ycaza, they used to come through like that.” . . . Among the 186 recorded works at Santa Anita Sunday was a four furlong move by streaking stakes winner Selcourt in 49 flat as trainer John Sadler preps her for the Grade I Beholder Mile June 2 . . . There is a single ticket Pick Six Jackpot carryover today of $185,675 . . . Santa Anita-based jockeys Corey Nakatani, Mario Gutierrez and Ruben Fuentes have stakes engagements at Golden Gate Fields today . . . Jerry Hollendorfer has Afleet Ascent and Choo Choo ticketed for next Saturday’s $100,000 Singletary Stakes for three-year-olds at a mile on turf. Other probables include Epical, Fibonacci, La La Land and Restrainedvengence . . . Santa Anita’s Paddock Room will open at 7:15 a.m. for simulcast wagering on Kentucky Oaks Day, next Friday. On Saturday, May 5, Santa Anita hosts the Biggest Derby Party West of Kentucky. Patrons can watch and wager on the Run for the Roses and a full card at The Great Race Place. Featured will be a trackside craft beer festival, the Californian vintage motorcycle show, a Chandelier Room Derby party, a Kentucky Derby hat contest, the Family Fun Zone and a restaurant dining package. For tickets, visit . . . Santa Anita will be dark for live racing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week, resuming live racing on Thursday, May 3, at 12:30 p.m., but will be open for simulcast racing Wednesday, with free parking and free general admission. Admission gates open at 10 a.m.

(Current Through Saturday, April 28)
Jockey Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% ITM% Money Won
Flavien Prat 40 13 6 5 33% 60% $541,005
Geovanni Franco 43 8 5 5 19% 42% $247,133
Drayden Van Dyke 35 6 5 7 17% 51% $308,160
Stewart Elliott 33 6 5 3 18% 42% $276,775
Asa Espinoza 22 6 4 1 27% 50% $134,900
Joseph Talamo 31 5 6 3 16% 45% $297,904
Franklin Ceballos 43 5 5 1 12% 26% $148,355
Martin Pedroza 22 4 3 3 18% 45% $123,420
Tiago Pereira 30 4 1 5 13% 33% $105,025
Tyler Baze 49 3 9 5 6% 35% $196,580
Kent Desormeaux 23 3 1 6 13% 43% $170,875
Trainer Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% ITM% Money Won
Philip D’Amato 22 6 5 5 27% 73% $283,025
David Jacobson 17 6 1 3 35% 59% $134,640
Peter Miller 31 5 5 4 16% 45% $278,766
Doug O’Neill 22 5 4 5 23% 64% $236,285
John Sadler 23 4 5 2 17% 48% $174,275
Mike Puype 10 4 2 0 40% 60% $123,035
Vladimir Cerin 10 4 0 2 40% 60% $111,210
Richard Baltas 20 3 5 2 15% 50% $174,941
Steven Miyadi 15 3 5 1 20% 60% $94,280
Neil Drysdale 10 3 2 0 30% 50% $92,660
Bob Baffert 6 3 1 0 50% 67% $199,545
Genaro Vallejo 6 3 0 0 50% 50% $52,930
Simon Callaghan 7 3 0 0 43% 43% $62,250