Submitted by Noel Michaels on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 12:00 AM
Santa Anita: Baffert has busy weekends ahead as Kentucky Derby nears
ARCADIA, Calif. – Bob Baffert is going to be in action in Derby preps every weekend from now until the Kentucky Derby on May 4, and though last weekend did not pan out as planned, with Den’s Legacy and Super Ninety Nine both losing in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn, Baffert was looking forward Monday at Santa Anita, where he worked Flashback, Code West, Power Broker, and Sunland Derby prospects Govenor Charlie and Shakin It Up on a cool, overcast morning.
Flashback suffered the first loss of his career nine days earlier in the San Felipe Stakes. Next up is the Grade 1, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 6, in which Garrett Gomez will take over as his new rider. Gomez was aboard for the first time for Monday’s work, a half-mile that Flashback covered in 48.40 seconds while easily breezing past a workmate whom he comfortably sat behind early after breaking off five lengths in arrears.
“That race really helped him,” Baffert said of the San Felipe, in which Flashback finished second. “That race got his blood going. His other races were a walk in the park.”
Baffert will have at least two runners in the Santa Anita Derby. He said Monday that Super Ninety Nine, who was fifth in the Rebel on Saturday, would remain here for the Santa Anita Derby.
“He’s much better than that,” Baffert said, referring to the Rebel. “We’ll find another spot, give him another chance. He was exhausted.”
Den’s Legacy, third in the Rebel, is set to return to Oaklawn for the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby on April 13, Baffert said.
Govenor Charlie and Shakin It Up worked five furlongs in company in preparation for the Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Derby on Sunday. Govenor Charlie (1:00.40), with Martin Garcia up, broke off slightly in front of Shakin It Up (1:00.20), and though they finished together, Govenor Charlie appeared to be going the easier of the two coming to the wire.
Rafael Bejarano was aboard Shakin It Up for the workout, but David Flores has the mount Sunday.
Code West, who is scheduled to represent Baffert on March 30 in the Grade 2, $1 million Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds, worked six furlongs in company with the comebacking Power Broker, both owned by Gary and Mary West. Power Broker (1:12.60) started the work in front of Code West (1:12.40), and though Power Broker received the slower time, he was the more impressive of the two, though it must be noted that Code West is more of a grinding type. Both continued powerfully during their eye-catching gallop-outs.
Power Broker, who has not raced since finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, “is getting fitter,” Baffert said. He could be ready to race by the first weekend in April, making the Santa Anita Derby and the Grade 1, $1 million Wood Memorial at Aqueduct among the possible comeback spots.
Baffert also said he was looking at the Arkansas Derby and the Grade 1, $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes, both on April 13, for War Academy, an impressive winner in allowance company here last week.
If War Academy does run April 13, that could present jockey Mike Smith with a conflict. Smith rode Oxbow to a second-place finish in the Rebel, and Oxbow is scheduled to make his next start in the Arkansas Derby.
Midnight Lucky bound for Sunland
On the 3-year-old filly front, Baffert on Monday worked the exciting Midnight Lucky, who went five furlongs in 1:00.80 in her final drill for the $200,000 Sunland Oaks on Sunday.
“Beautiful,” Baffert said. “She worked great. That was a good work.”
Midnight Lucky was an impressive winner of her debut sprinting last month at Santa Anita. In the Sunland Oaks, she will be taking on winners, going two turns, and racing in a stakes for the first time. Bejarano is going to Sunland to ride her.
Bejarano received a three-day suspension from Santa Anita’s stewards for careless riding in the third race Friday. The suspension is scheduled to begin Friday, but Bejarano can still ride in the Sunland Derby and Sunland Oaks because they are designated races in New Mexico.
Regardless, Joe Ferrer, the agent for Bejarano, on Monday said he was appealing the suspension, believing it unjustified.
If Bejarano rides at Sunland on Sunday and the suspension is not overturned on appeal, Bejarano would eventually have to serve another day of suspension to make up for riding in the designated races, according to Tom Ward, one of Santa Anita’s stewards.
? Amazombie, nearing his first start of the year, worked five furlongs in 1:00 on Monday for trainer Bill Spawr. Amazombie, the 2011 champion sprinter, has not raced since Nov. 3, when finishing eighth as he tried to defend his title in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
? Calidoscopio, the Breeders’ Cup Marathon winner, worked five furlongs in 1:02.60 on Monday for trainer Mike Puype. Calidoscopio is nominated to the Grade 3, $100,000 Tokyo City Cup at 1 1/2 miles on the main track Saturday.