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STONEY FLEECE LIKELY CHOICE AMONG NINE 3-YEAR-OLDS IN SUNDAY’S BAFFLE STAKES WHILE MAKING HILLSIDE TURF COURSE DEBUT
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 23, 2012) – Stoney Fleece, winner of Hollywood Park’s Grade III Generous Stakes last November, is the 122-pound high weight and likely favorite among nine entrants in Sunday’s $70,000 Baffle Stakes for 3-year-olds at 6 ½ furlongs over Santa Anita’s hillside turf course.
Sunday’s featured eighth race will mark Stoney Fleece’s first race over the unique downhill grass layout. Including the Generous, he won two competitions at one-mile on turf before most recently finishing third in Santa Anita’s Eddie Logan Stakes at the same grass distance on Dec. 31.
Joel Rosario, aboard for his first two turf triumphs, will rejoin Stoney Fleece, who is trained by John Sadler. Owned by Gary and Cecil Barber, the California-bred son of Decarchy comes into the Baffle with earnings of $170,860 from an overall record of 4-02 in 8 starts.
Brigand, purchased for $925,000 last March by Kaleem Shah, returns to the races for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert following nearly six months on the shelf. After winning his maiden debut at Hollywood Park last July, Brigand ran second to Majestic City in the Grade III Hollywood Juvenile Championship. He went to the sidelines after subsequently fading to fourth in Del Mar’s Grade II Best Pal Stakes last August. Rafael Bejarano takes over in the saddle for the son of Flatter’s comeback bid.
The complete field for the Baffle Stakes which is named for the John Longden trainee who held the 6 ½ furlong hillside record for many years, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Coach Bob, Brice Blanc, 117; Stoney Fleece, Joel Rosario, 122; Loukas, Joseph Talamo, 119; Passing Game, Kevin Krigger, 119; Hodge, Martin Pedroza, 117; Major Magic, David Flores, 119; Brigand, Rafael Bejarano, 117; Tones, Eswan Flores, 119, and Martin Garcia, Smoking G, 117.
First post for the program of nine races is at 12:30 p.m.