- Road to the Kentucky Derby
- Racing & Wagering
Lookin at Lucky still likely for Rebel; Blind Luck targets Fantasy
Trainer Bob Baffert left the door slightly ajar for 2009 two-year-old champion male LOOKIN AT LUCKY (Smart Strike) to make his three-year-old debut in Saturday's San Felipe S. (G2) at Santa Anita, but reiterated that he was more likely to ship to Oaklawn Park for the Rebel S. (G2) on the same day. Both are 1 1/16-mile events.
"I'll look at the weather at Oaklawn and if it looks like snow, I'll just keep him here," Baffert said Sunday morning. "But right now, the Rebel looks pretty firm.
"We have a lot of questions that have to be answered -- wearing blinkers for the first time in a race and running on dirt for the first time. The closer you get to the Kentucky Derby ([G1] on May 1), the better off you are knowing the answers."
Lookin at Lucky has not raced since scoring in the December 19 CashCall Futurity (G1) at Hollywood Park. The bay has lost only once in his six-race career, and that was a runner-up effort by a head in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) two starts back.
Trainer Mike Machowsky, meanwhile, said Sunday that unbeaten CARACORTADO (Cat Dreams) "is like a wild man" as he awaits the San Felipe. The California-bred gelding is coming off a victory in the Robert B. Lewis S. (G2).
AMERICAN LION (Tiznow), who was third to Caracortado in the Lewis, is confirmed for the San Felipe. Trainer Eoin Harty reports that Eclipse Award-winning jockey Julien Leparoux will come in to keep the ride aboard the WinStar Farms colt. Leparoux has guided American Lion in his past three starts, including his 6 3/4-length maiden romp at Keeneland and his half-length success in the Hollywood Prevue S. (G3) prior to the Lewis.
Multiple Grade 1 queen BLIND LUCK (Pollard's Vision), who had a less than ideal trip in Saturday's Santa Anita Oaks (G1) and flew home too late for third, will return to dirt for the April 5 Fantasy S. (G2) at Oaklawn Park.
"Jerry (Hollendorfer) hates to lose," assistant trainer Dan Ward said Sunday morning. "She ran very good and came back good."
Ward said there had been "no discussions at all" on whether Hollendorfer would make a rider change from Rafael Bejarano for the Fantasy.
"I like Raffy a lot and I know he wants to win just as much as we do."
Bejarano has been aboard Blind Luck in her last three starts. After rolling to a seven-length triumph in the Hollywood Starlet S. (G1), she just got up in time in the February 13 Las Virgenes S. (G1) in her sophomore debut. Blind Luck couldn't repeat those last-gasp heroics in the Santa Anita Oaks, where Bejarano took the inside route, ran up behind horses, and had to alter course late. The 1-2 favorite gained ground rapidly once in the clear, but the wire came too soon, and she fell a half-length short of catching Crisp (El Corredor).
Trainer Alexis Barba, who saddled the winners of the other two sophomore stakes at Santa Anita Saturday, has already made plans for one of them. Grade 1-placed MAKE MUSIC FOR ME (Bernstein), a rallying victor of Saturday's Pasadena S. on turf, will likely make his next start in the April 3 Santa Anita Derby (G1). Runner-up to Lookin at Lucky in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) and Best Pal S. (G2), and third to that same rival in the CashCall Futurity, Make Music for Me was still a maiden when he lined up in the Pasadena, his first try on the grass.
Barba also sent out ALPHIE'S BET (Tribal Rule) to upset Saturday's Sham S. (G3) at 8-1, but as of Sunday morning, "no plans have been made" for his next outing. Last December, Alphie's Bet had finished second to Caracortado in the California Breeders' Champion S.
Trainer Richard Mandella said that Sham runner-up SETSUKO (Pleasantly Perfect) came of the race fine, and "we'll probably look at the Santa Anita Derby."
Machowsky said that he'll regroup with NEXTDOORNEIGHBOR (Lido Palace [Chi]), the impressive maiden winner who faded to seventh after setting the pace in the Sham.
"I'm not really sure why he was on the lead," Machowsky said. "I have no plans for him right now."