BULLDOGGER RUNS THIRD IN COMEBACK WON BY THOMAS BAINES

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 3, 2010) – Following a troubled sixth in the Grade III El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields, Thomas Baines returned to Santa Anita Wednesday to run down 7-10 favorite Bulldogger in the $48,800 allowance feature for 3-year-olds at one mile.

All the pre-race attention had been focused on trainer Bob Baffert’s Bulldogger, who had been sidelined with sore shins after winning his debut by 6 ½ lengths last summer at Saratoga, and the son of Dixie Union streaked to the front in Wednesday’s comeback.

But with Garrett Gomez in the saddle, the $300,000 yearling purchase ran out of steam at the sixteenth pole while passed by both Thomas Baines and runner-up Indian Firewater, a stablemate from the Baffert barn.

Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, the fast-closing Thomas Baines ran the distance in 1:35.94. The winning margin over Indian Firewater, with Martin Garcia aboard, was one-half length. It was another three-quarters of a length back to the tiring Bulldogger.

As the second choice in a field of seven, Thomas Baines returned $11, $4.60 and $2.80. The mutuels on Indian Firewater were $5.20 and $2.80. Bulldogger paid $2.10 to show.

A gelded son of Johannesburg who is trained by Doug O’Neill, Thomas Baines is not Triple Crown nominated. Prior to his rough trip in the El Camino Real, he had finished third in Golden Gate’s California Derby and third in Santa Anita’s Eddie Logan Stakes.

Bulldogger clearly needed his race after leading through fractions of 23.42; 47.12; 1:11.36 and 1:23.44. “He wouldn’t settle and he got a little tired. He’d been away a while, since Saratoga (Aug. 29).” Gomez said. “All in all, it was a good effort.”

Although bred in Kentucky, Thomas Baines began his career with seven races in England before joining O’Neill’s barn. Wednesday’s win was his first in four U.S. starts and brought his career record to 2-0-5 in 12 races. Owned by A J L Productions, Thomas Baines earned $28,800 on Wednesday which boosted his career total to $62,390.

Racing continues on Thursday with an eight-race program that gets underway at 1 p.m.

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