By Dick Downey
When Exit Stage Left won the California Derby at Golden Gate Fields, he became a natural contender for the El Camino Real Derby. Then he came up injured last week, and Jerry Hollendorfer said he would run Tamarando instead. That proved to be a wise decision.
Tamarando ran down Dance With Fate in the shadow of the wire to win the 1 1/8-mile race in 1:51.23. It was the sixth win of this race for Hollendorfer and the ninth for Russell Baze. The pair has teamed up for five wins.
I'll Wrap It Up led the field through a half-mile in :24.40 and :49.73, followed closely by Enterprising. Craftsman and Dance With Fate were swapping licks for third position. After six furlongs in 1:13.98, I'll Wrap It Up held a tenuous lead, with Enterprising inching forward and Dance With Fate on the move. Infosec was trying to launch a bid, and Tamarando, a confirmed late runner, was still eighth and last and ready to gear up.
Into the stretch, Enterprising was still coming on, but Dance With Fate got by him, and then Tamarando charged late for the victory by a half-length. Enterprising was third, beaten 2 3/4 lengths, and Puppy Manners finished another length back in fourth. They were followed by Infosec, Icy Ride, Craftsman and I'll Wrap It Up.
This was the sixth running of the race at the current distance. Winning times have ranged between 1:50.46 and 1:51.45.
It was the third stakes win for Tamarando and the second graded one. All three of those wins have come on synthetic track. Tamarando was victorious in the one-turn Del Mar Futurity last year, and he won the two-turn Real Quiet Stakes at Hollywood Park. Tamarando has also performed well on dirt, finishing third in the FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita, and in his most recent race finishing second to California Chrome in the California Cup Derby, again at Santa Anita. It was his fourth victory in 10 starts. Tamarando has finished off the board only once, and that came in his debut.
The son of Bertrando is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Larry D Williams. He was bred by them in California and is out of the Dehere mare Tamarack Bay.
With the victory, Tamarindo earned 10 Kentucky Derby points, giving him 12 in all and putting him fourth on the Derby leaderboard. Enterprising picked up two points. Dance With Fate and Puppy Manners were not nominated to the Triple Crown by the early deadline and won't earn Kentucky Derby points unless late-nominated or supplemented. Dance With Fate has eight unearned Kentucky Derby points in all and would be awarded those retroactively if he becomes Triple Crown-eligible.
Jerry Hollendorfer: “This horse runs well every time we race him. Even before Exit Stage Left got hurt we talked about running him in this race.”
Russell Baze: “He was laying closer than normal for him and doing it within himself. I had to ask him to start moving at the three-eighths pole because I knew they had a lot of horse in front of us. He got me right up there to them and then had enough to push by that horse at the finish line. My horse was moving pretty good, but that horse on the lead wasn’t coming back. He ran all the way to the wire. It took a good horse to run him down and this is a good horse. He’s got a nice, long move. There’s going to be a lot of good things coming from this colt. He’s got a lot of talent.”
Aaron Gryder, aboard Dance With Fate: “He was on the bridle a little more than I would have liked. If I could have gotten him to save a little more energy early on I think we may have had a different story at the end. But that’s all about maturing. These horses keep growing and getting better as they go along. He sure finished well going a mile and an eighth and tried hard, so I think we’ve got a nice horse.”
Gary Stevens, aboard Enterprising: “We had a great trip. I’m not so sure he handles this track that well. My horse didn’t pick it up for me like I thought he was going to. The race came up pretty much like we planned on paper, but the result wasn’t what we thought it would be.”