- BAFFERT MULLS THREE FOR SANTA ANITA DERBY
- ARROGATE DUE AT SANTA ANITA ON SATURDAY
- BRIT, YANK RUN FOR O’NEILL IN SANTANA MILE
- TODAY’S PICK 6 JACKPOT CARRYOVER: $496,486
BAFFERT HOPES TO ADD TO SANTA ANITA DERBY RECORD
With superstar starter Mastery sidelined, Bob Baffert will go to his bench in
quest of victory in the $1 million, Grade I Santa Anita Derby a week from Saturday, April 8.
The Hall of Fame trainer, winner of the mile and an eighth classic a record seven times, plans to enter American Anthem, Reach the World and West Coast in the 80th edition of the West Coast’s major steppingstone to the Kentucky Derby on May 6.
Baffert’s previous winners were Cavonnier (1996), Indian Charlie (1998), General Challenge (1999), Point Given (2001), Pioneerof the Nile (2009), Midnite Interlude (2011) and Dortmund (2015).
“Right now, I’m looking at possibly three,” Baffert said before double-timing it to supervise a work by Reach the World Thursday morning.
“There are no allowance races to really run them back in, and even though West Coast ran nice but not real fast the other day (breaking his maiden by 3 ¼ lengths going 1 1/16 miles in 1:44 March 12), if we run him here and he wins, finishes second, or whatever, that doesn’t necessarily mean we’d run him back in the (Kentucky) Derby.”
Reach the World worked five furlongs in company with American Cleopatra, going 59.80 under Martin Garcia, while American Cleopatra was clocked in 1:00.60.
With a large field in the works, the Santa Anita Derby can accommodate as many as 14 starters. There were 10 when Pioneerof the Nile won under the late Garrett Gomez; 11 when Tiago won under Mike Smith in 2007; and 21 in 1937 when Fairy Hill won under Mel Peters.
Doug O’Neill plans to enter four horses, meaning he and Baffert would monopolize the field, likely with more than half the starters. O’Neill won the race back-to-back in 2012 and 2013 with I’ll Have Another and Goldencents.
Probable for the Santa Anita Derby: American Anthem, no rider; Battle of Midway, Corey Nakatani; Gormley, Victor Espinoza; Iliad, Flavien Prat; Kimbear, Joe Talamo; Midnight Pleasure, no rider; Milton Freewater, Tiago Pereira; Reach the World, no rider; So Conflated, Mario Gutierrez; Term of Art, Tyler Baze; and West Coast, no rider.
Horse of the World Arrogate, meanwhile, was en route to California Thursday from Dubai where he won the $10 million World Cup last Saturday.
“He is in the air right now on his way home,” Baffert said around 8:30 Thursday morning. “He gets in LA around threeish, then he’ll be in quarantine for a couple days and
probably be here Saturday afternoon.”
O’NEILL DOUBLE TEAMS SANTANA MILE RIVALS
Mithqaal makes his United States debut Saturday in the $75,000 Santana Mile on dirt and Team O’Neill, who also has Tiznow Stakes winner Avanti Bello entered, is looking forward to seeing how the Kentucky-bred son of Speightstown fares.
All 14 of his career races have been in England, where he has four wins, one second and three thirds.
“He’s worked really well on dirt,” said Dennis O’Neill, brother of trainer Doug O’Neill. “You obviously think of turf horses when you think of those Euros, but he’s worked well enough on dirt to take a shot.
“Avanti Bello came out his race really, really good and he’s doing great.”
The field for the Santana Mile, the eighth of 11 races with a 12:30 p.m. first post: Magic Mark, Joe Talamo, 8-1; Dalmore, Stewart Elliott, 8-1; Dortmund, Victor Espinoza, 6-5; Clever Royal, Corey Nakatani, 12-1; Collected, Martin Garcia, 3-1; Mithqaal, Rafael Bejarano, 8-1; and Avanti Bello, Flavien Prat, 9-2.
FINISH LINES: There is a single ticket Pick Six Jackpot carryover Thursday of $496,486.38 . . . . Streaking Vale Dori, winner of the Grade I Santa Margarita Stakes on March 18, worked five furlongs Thursday for Bob Baffert in 50.80 . . . Trainer Eric Kruljac purchased two fillies on behalf of Wayne and Tyler Seltzer, owners of champion Finest City, at Wednesday’s Barretts Sale.
They were Hip number 10, for $180,000, by The Factor, and Hip number 56 for $100,000, sired by Archarcharch and a full sister to stakes winner Toews on Ice. Both fillies will be trained by Eric’s son, Ian, conditioner of Finest City . . . Cat Burglar, 5-2 morning line chance in Friday’s third race, makes his first start since May of last year. He won the 2016 Santana Mile and may be best known as the workmate of 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharoah. Also making a comeback in Friday’s third heat is Smokey Image, winner of the Cal Cup Derby by 8 ½ lengths in his first start at Santa Anita in January 2016 . . . The BBQ masters of Southern California return for the sixth annual Winner’s Circle BBQ championship at Santa Anita this Saturday, April 1. The kickoff event to a season of challenges across the Golden State this year is sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society. Enjoy delicious BBQ and help choose a new “People’s Champion” at the infield event. For more info, visit santaanita.com/events/world-bbq-championship/.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Sunday, March 26)|
|Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||105||21||11||10||20%||40%||$923,201|
|J. Keith Desormeaux||45||9||5||6||20%||44%||$515,305|