Bob Baffert advanced the chances of leading Kentucky Derby contender Lookin At Lucky running in the Santa Anita Derby Saturday morning, based on how the son of Smart Strike trains at his home base since his courageous and determined victory in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park last Saturday.

The Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby at 1 1/8 miles is April 3. Baffert’s other option is the Grade I, $1 million Arkansas Derby at 1 1/8 miles at Oaklawn Park on April 10. Baffert would decide on either a four-week or a three-week interval for Lookin At Lucky prior to the Run for the Roses on May 1.

“It depends on how he’s training,” the Hall of Fame trainer said on a sun-filled Saturday morning at Clockers’ Corner. “If he’s training really well here, it (running in the Santa Anita Derby) would give him an extra week for the (Kentucky) Derby. If he needed the extra week (since the Rebel), I’ll go to Arkansas. If he doesn’t need the extra week, I’ll stay here.”

Baffert has won the Santa Anita Derby five times, with Cavonnier (1996), Indian Charlie (1998), General Challenge (1999), Horse of the Year Point Given (2001) and Pioneerof the Nile last year. He has won the Kentucky Derby three times, but not since 2002, when War Emblem posted a front-running victory at 20-1.

Probable for the Santa Anita Derby: Sidney’s Candy, Joe Talamo; Caracortado, Paul Atkinson; Setsuko, Rafael Bejarano; Thomas Baines, Joel Rosario; Alphie’s Bet, Alex Solis; Posse Power, no rider; Cardiff Giant, Christian Santiago Reyes; and Who’s Up, Victor Espinoza.

In other Santa Anita Derby news:

Outlaw Man will pass the Santa Anita Derby to run in the Grade II, $500,000 Lane’s End Stakes at 1 1/8 miles at Turfway Park on March 27. “He leaves Monday for Kentucky,” said Jordan Blair, assistant to trainer Ken McPeek. Alex Solis, who worked the gray son of Forest Wildcat four furlongs on Pro-Ride Saturday in :47.80, has the mount in Kentucky.

“The work was good,” Blair said. “He’s very happy.”

Thomas Baines worked four furlongs at Hollywood Park Saturday in :48.20 for trainer Doug O’Neill.


Grade II San Carlos Handicap winner Bob Black Jack has been retired after suffering a soft tissue injury to his right leg during a workout Friday at Hollywood Park, according to HRTV producer Karen Johnson, who spoke with trainer James Kasparoff.

The injury was detected after he completed the work, a bullet five furlongs in :59.60 under regular rider David Flores. The 5-year-old California-bred son of Stormy Jack was being pointed to the Grade II, $150,000 Potrero Grande Handicap at Santa Anita on April 3. Kasparoff said Bob Black Jack would most likely be sold by his owners, Tim Kasparoff, brother of the trainer, and Jeff Harmon, for stallion duties.

“It’s a huge blow for me, Kasparoff said. “He was the best horse I ever trained.” Bob Black Jack earned $684,925 from five wins, two seconds and one third from 11 starts. He won the Grade I Malibu Stakes in 2008 and captured the San Carlos after a 14-month layoff. Bob Black Jack set a then-world record of 1:06.53 for six furlongs in winning the Sunshine Millions Dash at Santa Anita on Jan. 26, 2008.


Santa Anita’s popular “Santa Anita Uncorked” wine event is scheduled for next Sunday, March 28, in the track’s Paddock Gardens area, adjacent to the Seabiscuit Walking Ring. The event, which debuted in 2008, will include wine tasting, cuisine sampling, an art show and a day at the races.

Fans 21 and over are encouraged to spend a day at spectacular Santa Anita tasting fine wines, world-class cuisine from popular area restaurants, and perusing a colorful Paddock Art Exhibit while experiencing a day at the races. “Santa Anita Uncorked” will again be sponsored by the Wine of the Month Club based in nearby Monrovia.

Among those upscale area restaurants participating are: San Marino Seafood, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Cafe 322, Charcuterrie and Santa Anita’s FrontRunner. Wineries represented will include Zaca Mesa, Mike Smith and Alex Solis’ Jinetes, and many more.

“Santa Anita Uncorked” packages will include parking, Club House admission with a grandstand seat, program, wine tasting, cuisine sampling, art exhibit and a souvenir wine glass.

Tickets for admission, parking, program and restricted area wrist band are available for $60 each and can be purchased at the Santa Anita ticket office, or by phone at (626) 574-RACE. Tickets can also be purchased on-line at Proceeds from “Santa Anita Uncorked” will go to benefit Rotary Club Youth Services.


The Dal Jones Memorial Texas Hold’ Em No-Limit Poker Tournament will be held next Sunday, March 28, at the top of the stretch at Santa Anita. The event will benefit trainer Dal Jones Jr., who died of an apparent heart attack on Feb. 16 at the age of 38 and left behind a wife and two young children.

There will be food, drinks, music and a silent and live auction at 5:15 p.m. sharp, or 15 minutes after the last race. The tournament starts at 6:15 p.m. There will be prizes for the top three finishers, as well as constant raffles for all in attendance. There is a $200 buy-in, which is not tax deductible.

Interested parties can sign up via credit card ort mail in a donation or buy-in to see the prize list. First prize is a Rolex Submariner. For more information, visit or contact Victor Smith at

FINISH LINES: Jockey Inoel Beato will move his tack to Emerald Downs after Sunday’s last race. “He’ll go to Boone McCanna up there, who’s the leading agent. He has Ricky Frazier there,” said former trainer Frank Monteleone, who represented Beato during his brief tour at Santa Anita, where he was winless from 25 rides through Friday. “Inoel is a good rider; he just couldn’t get going here,” said Monteleone, who will look for another rider . . . Three players were still alive in ShowVivor II entering Saturday’s races: Roland Frederick of Kaplan, La.; Orlando Arango of Los Angeles; and Mary Jo Lessell of La Grange, Ky.