January 16, 2016
Source: Blood-Horse (Written by Tom LaMarra)
The Doug O’Neill trainee made his first four starts in Southern California, with his two best efforts on the grass. He broke his maiden on the downhill turf course at Santa Anita Park and finished third in the Cecil B. De Mille Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Del Mar.
In his previous start, Frank Conversation—a 3-year-old colt by Quality Road out of the Unusual Heat mare Rushen Heat—finished fifth in the grade I Los Alamitos Futurity.
Frank Conversation got a dream trip in the 1 1/16-mile California Derby, which marked his first start on a synthetic surface. Mario Gutierrez got him away in third behind Algenon and Allaboutaction, who dueled through fractions of :24.04 for the opening quarter-mile, :47.95 for a half-mile, and 1:12.23 for six furlongs.
Frank Conversation fanned three-wide approaching the top of the stretch, took over from the top pair at about the eighth-pole and pulled away to win comfortably over Marqula, who raced toward the rear early. Algenon finished third, with favored Allaboutaction fourth.
“The speed took off early, and that allowed me to sit behind them,” Gutierrez said. “It was a good trip. I didn’t have to fight him today, and that was a big part of it, too.”
Bred in Kentucky by Marc Keller, Frank Conversation was bought for $120,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. March 2-year-olds in training sale. Assistant trainer Leandro Mora said the Feb. 13 El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) is on the radar for the colt; the race offers 10 points to the winner on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby.”
“If everything goes right, we’re willing to come back (to Golden Gate),” Mora said. “He’s a nice horse top and bottom, and he just happens to have a great mind.”