East Coast longshots in play in Hollywood Derby

Profile Picture: James Scully

December 3rd, 2016

The East Coast contingent looms large in Saturday’s Hollywood Derby (G1). California’s 3-year-old turf division has been a mess all year, with former claimer Free Rose upsetting the La Jolla (G3) and Del Mar Derby (G2) before Frank Conversation posted a 36-1 surprise in the recent Twilight Derby (G3), and I’ll let the local runners beat me.

Six of the 12 contestants have traveled cross-country for the 1 1/8-mile turf affair and 2-of-3 three entrants from the Chad Brown stable, Camelot Kitten and Beach Patrol, merit serious respect. Camelot Kitten, who breaks from gate 2 with Beach Patrol to his inside, exits a victory from the rail in the 10-horse Hill Prince (G3) at Belmont Park, but I’m not keen on the inside draws at Del Mar.

Revved Up (20-1 morning line) and Isotherm (12-1) are a couple of expected longshots worthy of a look.

After breaking his maiden in July at Belmont Park, Revved Up posted a game allowance tally over a salty field at Saratoga, with runner-up Deeply Undervalued winning the Commonwealth Derby (G2) in his subsequent outing. The Shug McGaughey-trained Revved Up displayed good tactical speed in both wins but missed the break when testing stakes rivals in the Commonwealth Derby, getting shuffled back to last in early stages.

The son of Candy Ride made up a lot of ground in the stretch to be a better-than-it-looked fifth, registering a whopping 118 BRIS Late Pace rating, his second consecutive century-topping number. Freshened six weeks afterward, Revved Up never appeared comfortable tracking a ridiculously glacial pace in a November 9 allowance at Aqueduct (6-furlongs in 1:18) and wound up a close fourth to Sadler’s Joy, who looked like a future stakes horse registering his third straight victory that afternoon.

Look for an improved showing from Revved Up in the Hollywood Derby. The well-bred colt can settle into favorable position from post 9 with new rider Drayden Van Dyke (winning at a 25% clip this meet), just behind the early leaders. And we know the up-and-coming type can finish.

Isotherm is another serious upset contender. Throw out the last race on soft turf – the dark bay colt will receive the firm conditions he needs at Del Mar. Winner of the Pilgrim (G3) last fall, Isotherm missed most of 2016, returning from a seven-month layoff at Saratoga, and turned in two strong performances at today’s distance prior to the last start, finishing third in the Saranac (G3) before a runner-up in the Commonwealth Derby.

He appears close to putting it all together for George Weaver, registering 100 and 106 Late Pace numbers in those efforts, and regular rider John Velazquez will be in for the mount. Isotherm figures to be stalking midpack before offering his best.