With three of the six horses in today’s Grade 2 San Vicente at Santa Anita Park, including three of the four favorites, you had to figure trainer Bob Baffert had a good shot at collecting his eighth win in the race. Early in the stretch, though, it was far from a sure thing for the omnipresent, California-based conditioner. The entire field lined up six abreast, and the seven furlong feature became a sprint to the wire. In the end though, it was indeed one of the Baffert horses that emerged from the pack, as Shakin It Up finished fastest of all to score by just over a length under rider David Flores.
Shakin It Up, sent off as the 2-1 second choice, was fifth of sixth for much of the race, but never fell too far off of the early pace, as stablemate, Belvin, carved out solid fractions. Only Treasury Bill, the third choice from the Ron Ellis barn, fell well back off the pace, but that one made up a lot of ground on the far turn, and as the field came into the stretch, it was truly anyone’s race. Getting off the rail just a little, Flores looked for room for Shakin It Up, and the dark bay split runners willingly. Meanwhile, Treasury Bill was swinging well wide coming out of the turn and was also full of run.
While the late runner on the far outside weaved in and out a bit, the more experienced Shakin It Up was all business and pulled away to prevail by just over a length from Treasury Bill. Shakin It Up completed the seven furlongs in 1:22.48 over the fast track while collecting his second win in four lifetime starts. In his previous start the Michael Pegram runner had fallen less than a length short of winning the Grade 3 Prevue Stakes at Hollywood Park back in November. While the winner has proven to be a very good runner at the distance, it might well be the runner-up who becomes more of a threat on the Kentucky Derby trail.
Making his third lifetime start, Treasury Bill, looks to be screaming out for more ground, and figures to only get better as the distances get longer. Owned by Gary and Mary West, who also own top Kentucky Derby contender, Flashback, the son of Lemon Drop Kid will get to try two-turns for the first time in his next start, and is definitely one to watch out for.
It turned out to be a big day for Pegram, Baffert, and sire, Midnight Lute, as a few races earlier on the card, a pair of good looking three-year-olds locked horns in an exciting stretch battle in a one-mile maiden race. On the wire it was the Michael Pegram owned, and Bob Baffert trained, Govenor Charlie getting the best of the 6-5 favorite, Footbridge, by a short neck. A son of the two-time Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion, Governor Charlie completed the mile in 1:36.28 to register his first victory after running second in his career debut last time. For the Darley owned runner-up, it marked his third sharp try without one in the win column yet.