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California Derby : Simply Majestic Equals Track Mark in Victory

April 19, 1987|United Press International

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.

"I felt all along he was a good horse, but he had problems back East, and then we shipped him to Florida and he still had problems," Parisella said in a phone interview. "He has started coming into his own in California and after today has to be one of the Derby favorites."

The victory, which earned Simply Majestic $165,000, also had a touch of irony to it.

Parisella sent Simply Majestic out to trainer Wayne Lukas earlier this year. However, Lukas thought that he had too many good horses and turned down an opportunity to work with the colt.

"I think he made a mistake in judgment," said Parisella of Lukas. "Wayne ran the horse in two races, but he decided to stick with Barb's Relic and War. With all the horses he has, he has some tough choices to make, but in this case I don't feel sorry for him."

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