JAYCITO (Victory Gallop) joined the lineup for Saturday's Santa Anita Derby (G1) when Bob Baffert announced that the winner of last year's Norfolk S. (G1) and runner-up to Premier Pegasus (Fusaichi Pegasus) in the March 12 San Felipe S. (G2) would be entered Wednesday in the $1 million race.
The Hall of Fame trainer had been considering the Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct the same day, but opted to keep the stretch-running son of Victory Gallop, the winner of the Belmont S. (G1) in 1998, at his home base for the 1 1/8-mile race.
"I was leery about running him back here," Baffert said of Santa Anita, "because horses with his style weren't doing that well until recently, with the track favoring speed.
"But shipping could take something out of him, we won't have to face (unbeaten Kentucky Derby [G1] favorite) Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie) and the weather is good here.
"Plus, I think he's got a good chance to win the race. Our main concern is to have him ready for the next one. This should set him up perfect for the Kentucky Derby."
Meanwhile, trainer Steve Asmussen's team hopes to continue its successful Southern California sojourn when SILVER MEDALLION (Badge of Silver) runs in the Santa Anita Derby.
Silver Medallion, winner of the Eddie Logan S. on turf December 31 before taking the El Camino Real Derby (G3) at Golden Gate Fields on February 12, looms the second choice or third choice behind Premier Pegasus
The bay worked seven furlongs Tuesday in 1:23 3/5.
"We got the move in him that we needed," said Blasi, who added, "we had him galloping out a mile in 1:37 and change."
Blasi anticipates a full field on Saturday.
"It will be a field of 10 or 11," he said. "They don't give a million dollars away."
Despite some 23 inches of rain this meet that altered training schedules, the Asmussen camp has overcome that obstacle. Blasi prefers to see the glass as half full.
"The weather's been fine and the horses are doing well," he said. "The race track's been good to us."
In other Santa Anita Derby news, smart allowance winner MR. COMMONS (Artie Schiller) worked five furlongs on Hollywood Cushion Track's Sunday in 1:00 3/5 for John Shirreffs.
First post time on Santa Anita Derby Day is noon (PDT), and gates open at 10 a.m. There will be a guaranteed $500,000 late Pick 4. Official Santa Anita Derby T-shirts will be available to all paid admission customers at Santa Anita while supplies last.