Local stakes winner Russian Greek, the 3-2 favorite, came from last to win Saturday’s $100,000 California Derby at Golden Gate Fields. The 1 1/16-mile race for three-year-olds is a prep event for the track’s $200,000 El Camino Real Derby on February 18.
One of two horses in the race trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Russian Greek started from post six with Aaron Gryder riding. Shipping up from Santa Anita was the 9-5 early favorite Hodge.
Setting the pace was Reconstruction, the other Hollendorder trainee, with Hodge running in second followed by Unveiled Heat and Cahill Chrome. Around the final turn Hodge, ridden by Russell Baze, took the lead with Unveiled Heat to his outside and Cahill Chrome three wide around the turn.
Russian Greek trailed the field by more than seven-lengths in the early going and began his move on the turn for home and moved to the outside for the strtetch run.
The favorite made a late rally to catch Cahill Chrome just before the wire and post a length victory. Finishing third was 4-1 third choice Senor Rain followed by Hodge, Unveiled Heat, Blacky the Bull and Reconstruction.
Russian Greek covered the distance on Golden Gate’s synthetic track in 1:45.07.
Owned by Olympia Star Inc., Russian Greek picked up $60,000 in his third win over four career starts. The colt has banked $121,700.
After beginning his career with a win at San Rosa last July, Russian Greek finished fifth in the Golden Nugget Stakes at Golden Gate. He won the Gold Rush Stakes with another last to first rally at the Bay Area track.
Russian Greek returned $5.40, $3.40 and $2.60. Cahill Chrome paid $18.00 and $6.60, and Senor Rain paid $3.60 to show.