LOOKIN AT LUCKY TO RUN IN SANTA ANITA DERBY, BAFFERT GIVES GO-AHEAD FOLLOWING SUNDAY BREEZE

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 29, 2010)—Lookin At Lucky, champion 2-year-old colt of 2009 and the West’s number-one Kentucky Derby hopeful, will run in Saturday’s Gr. I, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby, according to his Hall of Fame trainer, Bob Baffert.

The 3-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by Smart Strike, who breezed six furlongs at Santa Anita on Sunday in 1:12 flat, will attempt to become the first 2-year-old champion since the great Affirmed in 1978 to win the Santa Anita Derby.

“We were considering the (Gr. I) Arkansas Derby on April 10 because that would have given us a week more from his last race (a win in the Gr. II, 1 1/16 miles Rebel at Oaklawn Park on March 13), but he worked really good here on Sunday and he’s ready to run,” said Baffert, who has won a record five Santa Anita Derbies, along with three triumphs in the Kentucky Derby.

“Our ultimate goal is to win the Kentucky Derby and by running here on Saturday, this gives us a little extra time going into the Derby on May 1. He’s done everything we’ve asked of him and he overcame a lot of trouble in his last race and then shipped back here real good.”

Undefeated in four starts going into the Nov. 7 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita, Lookin At Lucky was victimized by a troubled trip from his number 13 post position and ran second, beaten a head in the 1 1/16 miles event for the world’s top 2-year-olds.

His next start would come in the Gr. I Cash Call Futurity on Dec. 19 at Hollywood Park, a race he won by three-quarters of a length as the heavy 3-10 favorite.

In winning his 3-year-old debut in Oaklawn’s Rebel, Lookin At Lucky ran his record to 6-1-0 from seven starts, with earnings of $1,423,000. A $475,000 Keeneland April, 2009 2-year-old purchase, he is owned by Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman.

Santa Anita morning line maker Jon White said on Sunday that Lookin At Lucky, should he enter to run, would be the 4-5 morning line favorite among a project field of 10 to 12 horses for the 73rd Santa Anita Derby.

“I think Lookin At Lucky most likely will be lower than even-money,” White said. “Just take a look at how much respect he got in the betting in the Rebel at Oaklawn. He was even-money on the board for that race despite coming off a layoff…”

Lookin At Lucky and the Eastern-based Eskendereya are considered the nation’s top two Kentucky Derby candidates at this time and both will run on Saturday as the Todd Pletcher-conditioned Eskendereya is scheduled to run in the Gr. I Wood Memorial at Aqueduct in New York.

Both races will be part of a one-hour live telecast on NBC, which will be the middle leg in NBC’s three-part series entitled “Road to the Kentucky Derby,” sponsored by Churchhill Downs and which will air live from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. PDT.

First post time for an 11-race card at Santa Anita on Saturday is 12 noon.

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