How to bet the 2023 Hollywood Derby

November 30th, 2023

A well-matched field of nine sophomores will go 1 1/8 miles on the Del Mar turf in Saturday’s $300,000 Hollywood Derby (G1). Conditioner Chad Brown has saddled three winners of the race in the past seven years, and I expect him to make it four from eight at the conclusion of this tilt. 

Hollywood Derby Wagers

#8 Program Trading, one of two Klaravich color bearers in the field, suffered his lone setback to date when a clear runner-up to the exquisite Integration in the Virginia Derby (G3) at Colonial Downs last time out. By Lope de Vega, the three-year-old had won a trio of races in succession to begin his career, led by a game tally in the Saratoga Derby (G1) two back. 

The bay English bred comes in fresh for the event with a steady string of morning moves dating back to early October, and I expect the best version of him to come out on Saturday. Program Trading also might have a bit of a tactical edge on his foes due to him having natural early speed, as this cast lacks an abundance of pace. Regular pilot Flavien Prat will be in the silks and has been red hot for this barn as of late. 

Leonard Powell’s #2 Maltese Falcon might be ignored some in the race coming off of a pair of unplaced showings most recently, but the contender won the La Jolla (G3) and just missed in the Del Mar Derby (G2) on the course in the summer and has a lot of appeal at a fair number. The Caravaggio gelding has a strong turn of foot and will save ground throughout with Juan Hernandez taking the reins. 

#7 Redistricting, the ‘other’ Brown trainee, has been dominant in two of his trio of career runs to date, with his lone setback coming in the Belmont Derby (G1). The lightly raced son of Kingman has trained well in advance of his second run since the summer, and the gelding has as much room for improvement in the cast as any of the contenders. Joel Rosario riding adds to his intrigue. 

I’ll also use Godolphin’s #1 Silver Knott. The Charlie Appleby trainee is winless from a handful of outings this campaign, but the gelding still has good ability and a top-three finish is well within his scope on Saturday. Jamie Spencer will ride and will have the sophomore saving ground from the rail throughout.