Racing News

Baffert pleased with Rebel winner Secret Circle

  • Secret Circle (Oaklawn Park/Coady Photography)

With a third straight Grade 2 Rebel Stakes victory sealed thanks to Secret Circle, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert was eagerly looking forward to the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby next month at Oaklawn.

Secret Circle, a three-year-old son of Eddington, produced a slightly newer running style for the 1 1/16-mile race by stalking the pace from farther behind than he'd ever been in his previous starts. His ability to rate was very encouraging to Baffert as Secret Circle tries to prove he belongs among the top Triple Crown contenders.

"The win was exciting and the way he did it was promising," Baffert said by phone Sunday morning with reports from his assistants that Secret Circle was doing well. "It was a good schooling for him and I think he should get a lot out of it, although my guys tell me he was hardly blowing when he got back."

Secret Circle races for Watson, Pegram and Weitman, the same owners behind the first of Baffert's consecutive Rebel victors with champion Lookin at Lucky in 2010. Baffert followed up last year with The Factor then kept the ball rolling last month when he and jockey Rafael Bejarano swept both divisions of the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes. Secret Circle had the faster of the two divisions and now has the Rebel, leaving little doubt about which race will be next for the five-for-six Kentucky-bred.

"He's run well there and likes that track," Baffert said. "If everything is good over the next few weeks, we will definitely come back."

Baffert will point Castaway, the other Southwest division winner, to the Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Derby outside El Paso this week. He also sees things with Secret Circle that need to be worked on back in his California lab.

"He keeps shutting it down too early," the horseman explained. "He kind of pulls himself up and throws out an anchor. I thought he was just going to blow by (pace-setter Scatman), but he waited a little bit. We can fix that with competition and try and work that out of him."

This latest Rebel win brings Baffert's career record at Oaklawn to 13 wins in 21 starts. The Arizona-native has won with four of his last five starters in Hot Springs, Arkansas, with the lone loss coming when The Factor finished seventh in the last year's Arkansas Derby. In the last three years, Baffert is 10-for-13 with three Rebel wins, three Southwest victories, a Grade 3 Azeri Stakes tally and two other six-figure stakes wins.

California Chrome Cruises to Victory in 140th Kentucky Derby before Crowd of 164,906

Steven Coburn and Perry Martin's favored California Chrome, ridden by Victor Espinoza, took command at the head of the stretch en route to a 1 3/4-length victory over Commanding Curve to win the 140th running of the $2,202,800 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I). A sun-splashed crowd of 164,906, the second-largest attendance in Kentucky Derby history, watched California Chrome give jockey Victor Espinoza a second Derby victory to go with his triumph on War Emblem in 2002.

Global View Nips Storming Inti at Wire to Win 23rd Running of Grade II American Turf

Glen Hill Farm's Global View caught Storming Inti in the closing strides

Midnight Lucky Romps in 28th Running of Grade I Humana Distaff

Midnight Lucky, making her first start in more than 11 months, took the lead out of the gate

Coffee Clique Catches Dame Marie Late to Win 29th Running of Grade II Churchill Distaff Turf Mile

Coffee Clique squeezed through an opening along the hedge

Derby Week Concludes with Memorable Kentucky Derby 140 as California Chrome Wins America’s Greatest Race

164,906 fans pack historic Churchill Downs

Updates Powered by

Visit brisnet.com for expert handicapping, picks and analysis Derby Week and all year long

Derby Stories

Lindsay & Els Chicago, IL

First time at the Oaks so that's why we have these crazy hats on, shaped like cheese hats and painted pink in honor of Bright Pink, which is a great charity.
Paula's picking California Chrome

Kentucky Derby 140 presented by Yum! - The Race

Kentucky Derby 140 - Road to the Derby

Kentucky Derby 140 Intro

Around the Downs - The Stables

The Race

54 Photos

GET TO KNOW THE KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER CALIFORNIA CHROME (PRE-RACE BIO)

California Chrome is attempting to become only the fourth California-bred, Kentucky Derby winner in history and the first since Decidedly in 1962.