DEL MAR, CA – Peter Brant’s Raging Bull made good on his name when he exploded strongly off the far turn and hit the wire first under a perfectly-timed ride to win Saturday’s Grade 1, $300,000 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar.
Breaking from post 6 as the 9/5 favorite under Joel Rosario, Raging Bull was content to settle well off the early pace while Have At It posted opening fractions of :23.70, :48.20, 1:12.48, and 1:36.74. When told to begin running as he neared the far turn, Raging Bull responded confidently, sweeping wide past several foes through the far turn and hitting the top of the stretch with new leader and local hero River Boyne in his sights. Flying fast toward the front, the Chad Brown trainee collared River Boyne inside the final furlong and fought gamely to hit the wire first by a 1/2-length in a final time of 1:48.34 for the 9-furlong event over a firm turf course that began the day rated good.
“I thought I was on the best horse, so I rode him that way,” Rosario said. “With him, he has a powerful 1/4-mile kick at the end. Terrific acceleration. So I just needed to keep him outside; keep him in the clear where I could ride him at the finish. It worked out just the way I’d hoped.”
Some 3 lengths behind his winning stablemate, Instilled Regard‘s first career attempt on turf proved fruitful when he was able to get up along the rail and steal third from Prince Earl by a head. The Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes victor Carrick briefly held the lead on the backside before faltering late and necking out fifth over Fight On, while just a 1/2-length back, Risky Proposition necked out seventh over Desert Stone. Another 1/2-length back, Kazan headed Platinum Warrior for ninth. Behind them to complete the order of finish came Way Early, a used-up Have At It, and Pubilius Syrus. The field’s lone filly entry, Californiagoldrush, scratched earlier that morning when it appeared that the turf would not be firm enough for her liking.
Raging Bull’s win was his first since finishing a disappointing fifth last out in the Grade 2 Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont on October 6. The French-bred 3-year-old son of Dark Angel now carries a record of 7-5-1-0 with earnings of $584,500.
“I expected him to be a little closer in the first part,” said assistant trainer Jose Hernandez. “The speed had been holding in the earlier turf races, but he came from off the pace very well. Rosario is a good rider and he knows what he’s doing, especially here in California. One down, three (horses to saddle in Sunday’s Matriarch) to go.”
Raging Bull returned $5.80 to win, $3.40 to place, and $2.80 to show. River Boyne brought back $3.40 to place and $2.80 to show, while Instilled Regard paid $4.40 to show.