Friday, January 16, 2009


UNDEFEATED MERUS MIAMI SET FOR CALIFORNIA DERBY


ALBANY -- The undefeated colt Merus Miami will try to establish himself as a legitimate candidate for the Triple Crown trail when he competes in the $100,000 California Derby at Golden Gate Fields Saturday.

A Kentucky-bred colt by Friends Lake, Merus Miami won a six-furlong maiden allowance race in his debut and then jumped up in class to capture the one-mile Gold Rush Stakes.


Merus Miami dropped back to last in the $75,000 Gold Rush and then rallied through the final quarter of a mile to win the feature by one length over Adriatic Moon, a colt he'll face again in the California Derby.

Merus Miami is trained by O. J. Jauregui and owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, an ownership group that puts together racehorse partnerships across the U.S. West Point Thoroughbreds purchased Merus Miami as a yearling for $100,000 and has seen the colt earn $62,400 in his two starts. The winner of the California Derby will earn $60,000

Jockey Alex Bisono has ridden Merus Miami in both of his races and he'll be in the irons again Saturday.

The field for the California Derby, in post position order, is as follows: Adriatic Moon, Frank Alvarado will ride; Revoluta, Roberto Gonzalez; Feisty Suances, Chad Schvaneveldt; Merus Miami, Bisono; Chocolate Candy, Russell Baze; Gallant Son, Leslie Mawing; and Axel Foley, Alonso Quinonez. All of the starters carry 121 pounds.

Post time Saturday is 12:45 p.m. and fans attending the track will receive a free Golden Gate Fields fleece pullover. Post time for the California Derby, the eighth event on a nine-race program, is approximately 4:15 p.m.


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