Treating his opponents in the $100,000 El Camino Real Derby with even more disdain than he did in his maiden and allowance victories, Anothertwistafate surged to a 7-length victory Saturday at Golden Gate Fields.
Anothertwistafate led from the start in his 4-length maiden win going 1 1/16 miles Dec. 9 and in his 5-length allowance win going 1 mile Jan. 4. He also led from the start in Saturday’s 1 ⅛-mile event, outbreaking his main rival — the Bob Baffert-trained Kingly.
Kingly tried to stay close to Anothertwistafate, keeping within 1 length down the backstretch and even getting to within a half-length on the second turn. But jockey Juan Gonzalez turned Anothertwistafate loose, and he stormed away at the top of the stretch and widened his advantage to the wire.
Any thought that Anothertwistafate would have to demonstrate an ability to sit behind horses ended with the break from the gate.
“He just broke really well, and the plan was to play the break and see if anybody else wanted to go,” Hernandez said. “We went pretty fast the first quarter-mile (23.38 seconds) but he felt real comfortable.”
Photo: Vassar Photography
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Hernandez was able to slow the pace to 49.09 seconds for the half-mile and 1:13.78 for three-quarters. That allowed Anothertwistafate to power the final three-eighths in 36.60 to finish in 1:50.38.
“When I asked him to go, he just exploded,” Hernandez said. “I could feel him really stretching out. I have to give all the credit to the horse. He’s just so strong.”
Anothertwistafate went off the 6-5 favorite in the field reduced from 13 to 11 with the scratches of Eagle Song and Royal Insider. Kingly went off at 19-10 and easily held on for second — 2½ lengths ahead of More Ice.
“I’m just in awe of him right now,” trainer Blaine Wright said. “The last three weeks he’s been fabulous. One thing we didn’t want to do was change his style, but if somebody wanted to really go for the lead, we would have let him.”
Owner Peter Redekop purchased Anothertwistafate for $360,000 in June, and his three races at Golden Gate Fields certainly have validated the rich price tag. Everybody can forget about his ninth-place finish in his sprint debut Nov. 3 at Santa Anita.
Anothertwistafate earned 10 qualifying points toward the Kentucky Derby with Saturday’s victory, but he is going to need more to earn a berth in America’s race.
“There are a lot of races out there,” Redekop said. “One race in March and one in April. I don’t like Santa Anita because of Baffert. He’s got a few good ones.”
Although Anothertwistafate handled Kingly on Saturday, Baffert’s true Kentucky Derby candidates are undefeated Game Winner and Improbable and 3-for-4 Mucho Gusto.
Saturday’s win also gained Anothertwistafate an automatic berth in the Preakness.
“The Preakness is good,” Redekop said. “The big race is better.”
Larry Stumes is a freelance writer.
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