- Road to the Kentucky Derby
- Racing & Wagering
Bodemeister, Holy Candy ready for weekend stakes
On Sunday at Santa Anita Park, trainer Bob Baffert worked Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes runner-up Bodemeister in company with allowance scorer Saddleranch for next Saturday's Grade 1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.
Bodemeister was caught going five furlongs in 1:00 2/5 under Martin Garcia while Saddleranch posted a time of 1:00 4/5 with Rafael Bejarano up.
Arkansas Derby-bound Secret Circle is scheduled to work Monday, said Baffert, who supervised Sunday's exercises while sitting in a Santa Anita grandstand seat along with his brother, Bill.
"I feel better this morning," said the Hall of Fame trainer, who is recovering from a heart attack suffered on March 26 while in Dubai. "I was a little weak yesterday. Now I feel like 100 dollars."
Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity winner Drill, hero of the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes last out, also worked for Baffert, going five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 with Garcia aboard.
First expected to contest Saturday's Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, Drill will instead head to Oaklawn for the Northern Spur on the Arkansas Derby undercard, according to Daily Racing Form.
Baffert had three starters in Saturday's Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in a bid to add to his record sixth win in the race. After third-place Blueskiesnrainbows, 9-1 shot Paynter, making only his second career start, finished fourth, while Liaison ran sixth.
"Paynter stumbled at the start and that sort of took him out," Baffert explained. "I was hoping he'd be sitting second or third. Turning for home, I thought maybe he'd be able to pull it off, but I guess Creative Cause kind of ran by. Liaison just never really got untracked."
Asked whether Liaison would go on to Kentucky, since he should have enough graded earnings at $393,000, Baffert indicated he planned to ship him, along with fillies Eden's Moon and Princess Arabella, who are candidates for the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on May 4.
"Liaison never has liked this track," Baffert replied. "He ran well yesterday. He broke his maiden here. But he ran better at Hollywood Park. Bejarano never really seemed comfortable on him -- he got stuck on the inside a little.
"Blueskiesnrainbows is the kind of horse that maybe goes to the Belmont. He could run all day. That was a big improvement for him. Paynter ran a really good race. He had some trouble and still figured it out.
"The winner ran a good race. He was in the same spot all the way, and the kid (Mario Gutierrez) rode a really good race. He was just stalking us, and Creative Cause looked like he was going to open up, and he just cut in between there. He ran fast."
Joe Talamo, on a roll in recent weeks, had high praise for Blueskiesnrainbows.
"We had an unbelievable trip," said the jockey, who just scored his 1,000th career victory on Thursday. "He got to the lead and pretty much had the race to himself the whole way. We tried kicking away at the quarter-pole and he really responded well. He just got outrun by two really good horses.
"I think he's going to get better from there. He really stepped up from his previous form. For me personally, I'm glad I'm finishing strong this meet after a slow start. That's horse racing, just up and down. You just have to stick with it."
In other news, impressive maiden winner Holy Candy, who passed the Santa Anita Derby for the Blue Grass, worked six furlongs Sunday at Santa Anita for John Sadler in 1:13 2/5. The son of Candy Ride will ship into Keeneland "about mid-afternoon Tuesday."
"We thought three weeks would be better than two (following his maiden win) and Candy Rides run well on both surfaces, and he's done a lot of training on synthetics (Keeneland's main track is synthetic Polytrack)," Sadler said when asked about skipping the Santa Anita Derby.
"It was tough; they ran good. It's a really good group this year, from what I've seen," he added about the race's outcome.