ALBANY, Calif. — Kentucky Derby hopeful Simply Majestic took the lead at the head of the stretch Saturday and won the $300,000 California Derby at Golden Gate Fields by 3 1/2 lengths in a track record-tying time of 1:46 3/5.
Simply Majestic, with Luis Ortega up, ran comfortably early before rallying to win. Flying Flags, a 17-1 longshot, closed rapidly down the stretch to take second, and favorite Blanco was third.
Simply Majestic paid $21.60, $12.80 and $6.40; Flying Flag returned $15.40 and $6.60, and Blanco paid $2.80 to show.
"The horse broke well and got good position early," Ortega said. "He responded when I wanted him to, near the end of the backstretch, and finished strong."
Trainer John Parisella, who watched the race on satellite in Miami, said Simply Majestic will run in the May 2 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.