A large and well-matched field of 13 will run nine furlongs on the Del Mar turf in Saturday’s $300,000 Hollywood Derby (G1). The talented cast lacks anything close to a standout and is among the most challenging handicapping puzzles of the weekend. The payouts following this test figure to be healthy in the very least.

Hollywood Derby Analysis

Kingly is the pace of the race and he will be tracked by Uncle Bull, Neptune’s Storm and Mo Forza, from the rail. This quartet will get a level of separation from their foes early on, and while the pace will not be rapid, I do expect them to get run down late.

Hollywood Derby Wagers

  • $15 Win and Place #6 Nolde = $30
  • $2 Exacta Key Box 6 with 1,4,5,8,13 = $20

Hollywood Derby contenders and morning line odds

#1 MO FORZA (5-1) — Impressive Twilight Derby (G2) winner comes off a lifetime-best showing for Peter Miller. Uncle Mo colt has tactical speed and the rail, and he should always be in contention beneath Luis Saez.

#2 KINGLY (20-1) — Grade 3 victor is the pace of the race and will likely set sail early on. Talented son of Tapit picked up his biggest win on the course, and he could get brave if left alone early. Mario Gutierrez will be up.

#3 UNCLE BULL (20-1) –– Rapidly improving colt from the Casse barn rides in on a two-race win streak following a short layoff. Kentucky-bred son of Uncle Mo will be in the hunt from the break beneath Talamo.

#4 DIGITAL AGE (6-1) –– Grade 2 hero has lost his last four, but he rates as a late contender for the always dangerous Chad Brown. One-run closer comes in fresh with Javier Castellano and could be the one to hold off late.

#5 NEPTUNE’S STORM (9-2) — One of two in the field for Baltas has won or placed in nine of 10 lifetime turf runs in advance of today. Hill Prince (G2) upsetter has run big in both Del Mar appearances and the gelding will be forwardly placed throughout.

#6 NOLDE (6-1) — Shirreffs pupil showed nothing when rank in the Twilight Derby, but he showed his class in taking the Del Mar Derby (G2) on this surface two back. Pioneerof the Nile colt ran his two best races locally and has upset potential from off the pace.

#7 PROUD PEDRO (30-1) — Bay colt was a narrow second in the Let it Ride and has been consistent since arriving in the U.S. French-bred sophomore will need improvement to factor late in his graded stakes bow, however.

#8 HENLEY’S JOY (6-1) — The lone Grade 1 winner in the field has banked more than $717,000 this campaign for Mike Maker. $50,000 bargain purchase had a good prep for today when a closing fourth in the Twilight Derby. Drayden Van Dyke will pilot the contender.

#9 STANDARD DEVIATION (6-1) — Chad Brown trainee was coming on late when a close third in the Hill Prince in his latest assignment. Dual stakes victor will be fit following six morning drills in preparing for this test. John Velazquez will be in the stirrups.

#10 MOODY JIM (6-1) — Recent allowance victor put in a spirited late run to get up late at Santa Anita in a solid field. Gray colt could be a late danger with an improved effort off the bench under turf ace Prat.

#11 MR DUMAS (30-1) — Recent Commonwealth Turf (G3) winner is on a nice roll since moving to the turf for John Ortiz. Majesticperfection colt has been consistently good and will be tough if he takes to the Del Mar lawn. Joe Rocco Jr. comes along for the voyage.

#12 ORIGINAIRE (20-1) — Del Mar Derby runner-up has run two of his best races on the lawn at Del Mar. Mullins trainee gets a tough post to work with, but he will be running on late at a nice price.

#13 SUCCEEDANDSURPASS (12-1) — Bay colt has improved his BRIS Speed figure with each start since coming to the states for Baltas. Son of Exceed and Excel was a smart runner-up in the Twilight Derby and can’t be ignored despite drawing widest of all. Rafael Bejarano inherits the mount.