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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
LOOKIN AT LUCKY ‘90 PERCENT SURE’ FOR SANTA ANITA DERBY
Bob Baffert said late Sunday morning he is “90 percent sure” that Lookin At Lucky will run in next Saturday’s Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby, rather than the Grade I, $1 million Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on April 10, after the male 2-year-old champion of 2009 worked six furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track in 1:12 flat under Martin Garcia.
“I was waiting to see how he came out of the work, but right now, I’d say he’s 90 percent sure to run here,” the Hall of Fame trainer said before departing for Sunland Park, where he saddles another of his Kentucky Derby hopefuls, undefeated Conveyance, today in the Grade III, $800,000 Sunland Derby.
“He looked good. I liked what I saw,” Baffert said shortly after Lookin At Lucky’s drill at 8:10 a.m. on a warm, sunny morning at Santa Anita, where seven horses worked for the West Coast’s major steppingstone to the Run for the Roses on May 1. The Santa Anita Derby has produced 15 Kentucky Derby winners.
Lookin At Lucky worked in company with the filly Kimmyv, who was ridden by former jockey Joey Steiner and was clocked in 1:13.40.
“We went to the 6 1/2 (furlong marker), and I was six, seven, eight (lengths) in front, kind of setting a decent pace,” recounted Steiner. “We just let Lookin At Lucky sit back and gallop along. He just picked her up on his own, and he (Garcia) asked him to go just a little bit and he went by. It looked like he did it real easy. Martin’s worked him the last three times, and he said he’s doing super.”
Lookin At Lucky made his 3-year-old debut with a game head victory in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park March 13. Should the son of Smart Strike win the Santa Anita Derby, he would be the first 2-year-old champion to win the track’s marquee race for 3-year-olds since Affirmed in 1978.
In other Santa Anita Derby news:
Caracortado worked six furlongs in company under regular rider Paul Atkinson in 1:13.40. “He went five eighths in :59 4/5 and galloped out in 1:13,” trainer Mike Machowsky said. “Everything’s perfect. He broke off behind a maiden filly of mine that hasn’t run yet. I just wanted to give him a target.”
John Sadler moved up by one day the scheduled five furlong work by San Vicente and San Felipe Stakes winner Sidney’s Candy, who instead went seven furlongs Sunday in 1:26.20 under Rafael Bejarano. “He went well,” Sadler said. “I moved it up one day. I wanted six days into the Derby. Everything’s perfect so far.”
Skipshot worked five furlongs on the main track in a bullet :58.40 under exercise rider Marco Ramirez. “I got him in :58 4/5 and he galloped out real nice,” trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said. “At least we think he likes the race track after being here for about a week.”
The M Racing duo of Who’s Up and Cardiff Giant worked five furlongs in :58.80 and six furlongs in 1:15, respectively, for trainer Mike Puhich. “We’ll see how they are in the morning and go from there,” Puhich said. Andy Hernandez was on Cardiff Giant, while Alfredo Miranda was aboard Who’s Up.
Posse Power worked a mile under John Ferzacka on the main track in 1:40.20 for trainer Frank Lucarelli. “He went really good and galloped out strong,” Lucarelli said of the bay colt who was third in the Grade III El Camino Real Derby.
Craig Dollase plans to run Boulder Creek, who was a troubled fifth in the Sham Stakes on March 13. Tyler Baze rides. “The horse is coming into the race the right way,” Dollase said. “I’m real happy with his seven-eighths work the other day (1:26.40 on Friday). He’s sitting on a good race, and you can’t win if you’re not in.”
Setsuko galloped a mile and a half under Anthony Rose for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella, who said the son of Pleasantly Perfect “would work in the next few days, but not tomorrow.”
Sham Stakes winner Alphie’s Bet galloped a mile and a half under Andy Durnin at Hollywood Park for trainer Alexis Barba. “I’m debating whether to give him a short work or a long gallop before the race,” she said. “It will be either one.”
Doug O’Neill said both Thomas Baines and Stephen‘s Got Hope walked today at Hollywood Park, “but I could send Stephen’s Got Hope to the Illinois Derby (next Saturday),” the trainer said. Probable for the Santa Anita Derby: Alphie’s Bet, Alex Solis; Boulder Creek, Tyler Baze; Caracortado, Paul Atkinson; Cardiff Giant, Christian Santiago Reyes; Lookin At Lucky, Garrett Gomez; Posse Power, Leslie Mawing; Setsuko, Rafael Bejarano; Sidney’s Candy, Joe Talamo; Stephen’s Got Hope, Alonso Quinonez; Skipshot, no rider; Thomas Baines, Joel Rosario; and Who’s Up, Victor Espinoza.
All fans in attendance at Santa Anita next Saturday will receive a free, high-quality casual shirt with paid admission, while supplies last. There will also be a $500,000 guaranteed Pick 4. First post time is 12 noon. Gates open at 10 a.m.
LOOKIN AT LUCKY WOULD BE 4-5 SANTA ANITA DERBY MORNING LINE CHOICE
If Lookin At Lucky is entered in the Santa Anita Derby, he will be installed as the 4-5 favorite on Jon White’s morning line.
“I think Lookin At Lucky most likely will be lower than even-money,” White said. “Just take a look at how much respect he got in the betting in the Rebel at Oaklawn. He was even-money on the board for that race despite coming off a layoff and running against the likes of Noble’s Promise and Dublin.
“Going into the Rebel, Lookin At Lucky had to ship, he was running on dirt for the first time and he was racing with blinkers for the first time. Yet he was still even-money. And what happened? Lookin At Lucky won the Rebel even though he clipped heels and stumbled on the backstretch. Off that, I would think Lookin At Lucky is going to be an even shorter price in the Santa Anita Derby than he was in the Rebel.
“Lookin At Lucky has been the favorite in all seven of his races. And the last time he ran in California, he was 2-5 on the board in the CashCall Futurity. So I expect him to be odds-on in the Santa Anita Derby.
With Lookin at Lucky in the Santa Anita Derby field, White said he plans to make Sidney’s Candy the second favorite at 3-1, followed by Caracortado at 5-1 and Alphie’s Bet at 8-1, with everyone else in double digits."
CECIL HOPES IRISH EYES ARE SMILING IN PROVIDENCIA STAKES
Ben Cecil plans to have two starters in next Saturday’s Grade II, $150,000 Providencia Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
One is Andina, an Irish-bred daughter of 1996 Dubai World Cup winner Singspiel. The other is Bab At The Bowster, an Irish-bred daughter of Footstepsinthesand.
Andina won her first two starts in this country, then was third in the restricted China Doll Stakes on Feb. 20. Each race was at one mile on turf.
“There wasn’t a lot of pace in the China Doll,” Cecil said. “I don’t think the order of the horses really changed much during the running. I expect her to run better with a little more pace, and the extra eighth (of a mile) should help us as well.”
Bab At The Bowster made her U.S. debut in the China Doll, running third early before finishing fifth, beaten three lengths.
“She was a bit aggressive early and then she made a big move and kind of flattened out,” recalled Cecil, who had seven wins from 40 starts through Saturday. “Overall, we’re having a pretty good meet,” he said. “I can’t complain.”
DAL JONES MEMORIAL POKER TOURNAMENT TODAY
The Dal Jones Memorial Texas Hold’ Em No-Limit Poker Tournament will be held Sunday 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 or mail in a donation or buy-in to see the prize list. First prize is a Rolex Submariner. For more information, visit www.Daljonesmemorial.com or contact Victor Smith at DalJonesMPT@yahoo.com
FINISH LINES: With 12 wins from 83 starters through Saturday, Jack Carava was enjoying another solid meet training exclusively for owner Ron Valenta, who races as La Caňada Stables. “But I have 22 seconds, a lot of them in photos,” Carava said. “A bob or two in our favor, and it would be a lot better. But we hope to finish up strong.” . . . Jockey Michael Baze, who rode at Turfway Park Saturday, was off his scheduled four mounts at Santa Anita Sunday . . . John Hernandez, who has worked in various capacities at Del Mar over the past 20 years, will be the new in-house television host/interviewer/commentator at Prairie Meadows in Iowa when its season starts in late April.