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2010 SANTA ANITA DERBY PROFILES
ALPHIE’S BET – Powered to a 2 ¼-length victory in the Grade III Sham Stakes on March 6 while preparing for the Derby. “He’s big, he’s strong, and he’ll run all day,” jockey Alex Solis said of the California-bred son of Tribal Rule who is trained by Alexis Barba for Peter O. Johnson Sr. and breeder Teresa McWilliams. Barba, who runs a small stable, could join Jenine Sahadi, who saddled The Deputy in 2000, as the only female trainers to win a Santa Anita Derby. Solis has ridden in 13. He won with his first, Snow Chief, in 1986 and aboard Brother Derek 20 years later.
CARACORTADO – The odds always seem to be stacked against this Cinderella sort, a California-bred gelding with a modest pedigree, a jockey who doesn’t get a great deal of work and a high-percentage, but low-profile trainer. Nonetheless, with 40-year-old journeyman Paul Atkinson in the saddle, he won his first five races – including the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes -- by distances of between 1 ½ and 1 ¾ lengths while favored but once. The son of Cat Dreams, trained by Mike Machowsky, finally was undone by a dawdling pace in the Grade II San Felipe that compromised his closing style. He finished third, beaten two lengths as the favorite. Co-owners Machowsky and Don Blahut are pledged to keeping Atkinson along for the ride should a trip to Kentucky materialize.
CARDIFF GIANT – Having run a dozen times with a 2-5-3 record for earnings of $110,998, the gelded son of Yankee Gentlemen comes into the Derby with abundant experience. His best showings have been a second to the highly regarded Conveyance in the San Rafael Stakes and a third behind Conveyance in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Both efforts came at one mile in Grade III events. Along with Who’s Up, he will give M Racing of Michael Gonzalez and trainer Mike Puhich their first two starters in the race. Jockey Christian Santiago Reyes will also be making his first appearances in the Santa Anita Derby. The 19-year-old jockey from Puerto Rico won an Eclipse Award as the nation’s leading apprentice last year.
LOOKIN AT LUCKY – Not only could the three-time Grade I winner extend trainer Bob Baffert’s record of Santa Anita Derby victories to six, he could become the only 2-year-old champion to win the event other than Affirmed in 1978. Affirmed, of course, was the last Triple Crown winner. Only a very troubled head loss to Vale of York in Oak Tree’s Nov. 7 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile separates millionaire Lookin At Lucky from perfection in seven starts. He and Eskendereya are considered the early favorites for next month’s Kentucky Derby. When Garrett Gomez won the Santa Anita Derby for Baffert last year aboard Pioneerof the Nile, it was his first mount in the race.
POSSE POWER – Trainer Frank Lucarelli and owner Lein Claire decided to give the Santa Anita Derby a shot following a game third-place try by the son of Posse in the Grade III El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields on Feb. 20. In that race, the chestnut colt was blocked twice while looking for clear sailing through the stretch. Never off the board in six starts, Posse Power would be the second Derby entrant for Lucarelli, a 51-year-old Washington-based trainer who saddled his 1,000th career winner at Golden Gate Fields on Feb. 8 of last year.
SETSUKO – A son of 2003 Breeders’ Cup Classic champion Pleasantly Perfect who was conditioned by his Hall of Fame trainer, Richard Mandella, the colt is owned and was bred by Wertheheimer and Frere. The two brothers, Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, are co-owners of the famous Parisian fashion house Chanel. Runner-up to Alphie’s Bet in the Grade III Sham Stakes on March 6, Setsuko is their first Santa Anita Derby starter and Santa Anita’s leading rider, Rafael Bejarano, has the mount. Mandella and Bejarano are seeking their first Derby wins in their fifth and third tries, respectively.
SIDNEY’S CANDY – One year ago, at the age of 19, jockey Joe Talamo was set to ride I Want Revenge in the Kentucky Derby when the 3-1 morning line favorite was scratched the morning of the race due to an ankle ailment. Talamo hopes to return aboard the son of Argentine-bred sensation Candy Ride for the Sid and Jenny Craig Trust. Named in memory of Jenny Craig’s late husband who co-founded the internationally-known weight loss centers, the colt is coming off dominant Grade II wins in the San Vicente and San Rafael Stakes for trainer John Sadler. This will be the third Santa Anita Derby for Sadler and second for Talamo while seeking their first wins.
SKIPSHOT – After winning three successive races at Golden Gate Fields, the son of 1998 Horse of the Year Skip Away was supplemented to the race by his connections, Mikhail Yanakov, of Hallandale, Fla., who races as Olympia Star, Inc., and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. “He ran very well in his first route race (winning by a nose at one mile on March 14), so we think he deserves a chance in the Santa Anita Derby,” said Hollendorfer. A winner of over 5,000 races and the fourth leading trainer of all time in terms of victories, Hollendorfer currently ranks fourth nationally in purse earnings. He is seeking his first Santa Anita Derby win with his third starter in the event.
THOMAS BAINES – By Johannesburg, champion 2-year-old in the U.S. and England in 2001, this Kentucky-bred bay gelding began his career with seven races in England before joining Doug O’Neill’s stable in the United States. He encountered considerable trouble in each of four losing U.S. starts before winning an allowance event at one mile on March 3. Joel Rosario, the leading jockey at Hollywood Park and at Del Mar last summer, has been enlisted to ride the gelding owned by A J L Productions LLC. This will be the third Santa Anita Derby try for both Rosario and O’Neill.
WHO’S UP – The second starter owned by M Racing and saddled by Mike Puhich, the chestnut son of Graeme Hill wintered in Washington. In his last start on Nov. 28, he was victorious in Hollywood Park’s Grade III, $100,000 Generous Stakes at one mile on turf. Although unraced in four months, Who’s Up has been swimming and engaged in aqua-tread exercise at a training center near Seattle. “While he was in the swimming pool we kept the cardiovascular up and used the underwater treadmill to build up his muscle tone,” said Puhich. Who’s Up drilled five furlongs Sunday in 58.80. Victor Espinoza, winner of the 2002 Kentucky Derby and Preakness, rides.