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El Gato Malo takes next step toward Kentucky Derby

March 01, 2008 · By · Share

On an overcast day at Santa Anita, one thing became crystal clear.  El Gato Malo is a leading Kentucky Derby contender.  Despite getting caught behind a meandering pace and allowing Colonel John to get first run on him, El Gato Malo made a huge late run to finish second beaten only a half-length in the $200,000 Sham Stakes(G3).  Despite having to wait at the quarter-pole, El Gato Malo clocked the final three-furlongs in a scintillating 35 and change.  Unfortunately, the tepid early fractions and unlucky trip left El Gato Malo with just a little too much to do.  However, El Gato Malo answered all questions and threw down the gauntlet to the other three-year-olds on the west coast.  This "bad cat" will be hard to tame.

Trainer Craig Dollase said, "El Gato Malo got so much from this race.  We got caught down inside, but El Gato Malo settled real nicely.  The pace was really slow, and the winner got first run on us.  It's hard to run down a colt of that class off of fractions like that.  We were flying at the end.  We can get the distance, we learned a lot, and we are moving in the right direction."

Jockey David Flores said, "The winner got first run on me.  We got stuck down inside all the way down the backstretch.  I had to wait behind slow fractions.  I finally was able to swing him out midway through the turn, but the winner had gotten clear.  My horse was getting to him, but we ran out of ground."

A three-year-old son of El Corredor, El Gato Malo now has three wins and a second from four career starts.  With his Sham result, El Gato Malo's career earnings jumped over the $200,000 mark.

With his effort, El Gato Malo punched his ticket to the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby(G1) on April 5th at Santa Anita.  The Santa Anita Derby will be his prep for the $2,000,000 Kentucky Derby(G1) on May 3rd at Churchill Downs.

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