Four weeks after the Nov. 2 Qatar Twilight Derby (G2T) on the Breeders’ Cup undercard at Santa Anita Park, seven of its competitors meet again in the Nov. 30 Hollywood Derby (G1T) at Del Mar, joined by Digital Age and Standard Deviation, eastern invaders trained by Chad Brown.

As the final North American grade 1 turf race of the year for males—and a race restricted to 3-year-olds—the $300,000 Hollywood Derby is a popular destination. Thirteen horses are entered in the 1 1/8-mile race, and though most are California runners, Henley’s JoyUncle Bull, and Mr Dumas join the Brown-trained pair as having raced mostly out of state.

Henley’s Joy, the only grade 1 winner, is the most traveled of the group, with 10 starts in 2019 at seven racetracks. Following his victory in the July 6 Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes (G1T) at Belmont Park, he has gone unplaced in four starts, slowed at times by catching paceless races or experiencing troubled trips.

“Winning the race he did, competing against the horses he did, I thought he had a great year,” trainer Mike Maker said. “He got unlucky a few times, but that’s turf racing.”

A son of Kitten’s Joy  owned by Bloom Racing Stable, Henley’s Joy ran fourth in the Twilight Derby, rallying belatedly after racing as far back as ninth. Rapidly advancing late, he closed his final eighth of a mile in :11.14, according to Trakus, checking in a half-length behind third-place Neptune’s Storm and three-quarters of a length behind runner-up Succeedandsurpass.

Those Twilight Derby runners, as well as victorious Mo Forza, fifth-place Kingly, seventh-place Originaire, and 11th-place Nolde, return in the Hollywood Derby.

Wet weather forecast this week in Southern California could leave the turf course with more give in the ground than usual. Del Mar canceled racing Nov. 28 because of safety concerns over racing on a wet track.

“I don’t like the weather they’re going to get, but it’s nothing we can control,” said Maker, whose colt has not placed in three starts over wet courses ranging from good to yielding.

Drayden Van Dyke will ride Henley’s Joy, who remained in California following the Twilight Derby rather than shipping back and forth from Kentucky.

Just three entries are winners on damp turf: Standard Deviation, who took the Tale of the Cat Stakes on a good course at Monmouth Park June 1; Neptune’s Storm, an allowance winner at Santa Anita on similar ground Feb. 1; and Mr Dumas, who won the Commonwealth Turf Stakes (G3T) on good turf at Churchill Downs Nov. 9.

Standard Deviation followed his Tale of the Cat victory with a seventh behind Henley’s Joy in the Belmont Derby, a win in the Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park Aug. 18, and a third in the Hill Prince Stakes (G2T) Oct. 5 at Belmont Park—all of them on firm turf.

Brown has won the Hollywood Derby twice over the past three years. Raging Bull won last year, and Annals of Time won in 2016.

Eastern shippers have won the Hollywood Derby three consecutive years. Sandwiched between Brown’s two winners was the Tony Dutrow-trained Mo Town  in 2017. The race was moved to Del Mar in 2014 after the closure of Hollywood Park in late 2013.

ENTRIES: HOLLYWOOD DERBY (G1T)

Del Mar, Saturday, November 30, 2019, Race 8

  • Grade IT
  • 1 1/8m
  • Turf
  • $300,000
  • 3 yo
  • 3:33 PM (local)
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 1Mo Forza (KY) Paco Lopez 122 Peter Miller 5/1
2 2Kingly (KY) Mario Gutierrez 122 Bob Baffert 20/1
3 3Uncle Bull (KY) Joseph Talamo 122 Mark E. Casse 20/1
4 4Digital Age (IRE) Javier Castellano 122 Chad C. Brown 6/1
5 5Neptune’s Storm (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Abel Cedillo 122 Richard Baltas 9/2
6 6Nolde (KY) Victor Espinoza 122 John A. Shirreffs 6/1
7 7Proud Pedro (FR) Tiago Josue Pereira 122 Leonard Powell 30/1
8 8Henley’s Joy (KY) Drayden Van Dyke 122 Michael J. Maker 6/1
9 9Standard Deviation (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate John R. Velazquez 122 Chad C. Brown 6/1
10 10Moody Jim (IRE) Flavien Prat 122 Jeff Mullins 6/1
11 11Mr Dumas (KY)Keeneland Sales Graduate Joseph Rocco, Jr. 122 John Alexander Ortiz 30/1
12 12Originaire (IRE) Heriberto Figueroa 122 Jeff Mullins 20/1
13 13Succeedandsurpass (IRE) Rafael Bejarano 122 Richard Baltas 12/1