Creative Cause, current fourth choice in Churchill Downs’ Kentucky
Derby Future Book Wager and the leader among West Coast contenders,
makes his 3-year-old debut on Sunday in Santa Anita’s 71st running of
the Grade II, $150,000 San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs.
Freshened since running a close third behind Hansen and Union
Rags in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs on Nov.
5, Creative Cause will face five challengers in the elongated sprint
that has served as a formidable launching pad for eight winners of the
According to Mike Harrington, who trains Creative Cause for
Heinz Steinmann, the gray son of Giant’s Causeway is more than ready for
his first test of 2012 that is likely to lead up to the Grade I,
$750,000 Santa Anita Derby at 1 1/8 miles on April 7.
“He’s worked very nice,” said Harrington. “He seems to be coming
up to the race fine. I think he’s on his game.” Jockey Joel Rosario
concurs. “He could be a little fresh coming off a layoff,” Rosario
allowed, “but he’s a great horse, and I love to ride him.”
Rosario first became acquainted with Creative Cause when they
teamed for a 3 ¾-length victory in Santa Anita’s Grade I Norfolk Stakes
at 1 1/16 miles prior to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, a one-length
setback while forced three wide around the final turn.
“His Breeders’ Cup race was a good one,” said Rosario. “I was
impressed with it. Maybe he’s the right horse for the Derby, who knows?”
With earnings of $521,000 from a 3-1-1 record in five starts,
Creative Cause won his first two starts sprinting including Del Mar’s
Grade II Best Pal Stakes. He subsequently was roughed up in the stretch
run of the Grade I Del Mar Futurity at seven furlongs.
After crossing the line third, one-length behind victorious
Drill, Creative Cause was moved up to second following the
disqualification of Majestic City, deemed responsible for the
Drill, dusted by Creative Cause when second in the Norfolk
preceding a tenth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, will try
again for trainer Bob Baffert in the San Vicente.
The $300,000 yearling purchase by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and
Paul Weitman has not been able to reach the winner’s circle in five
starts since his victory in the Del Mar Futurity. He went down to
Creative Cause as the 3-5 favorite in the Norfolk. Drill, who will be
accompanied by regular rider Martin Garcia, needs a dramatic turnaround
to regain lost stature on the Derby trail. His overall record of 2-1-0
in eight starts has earned $249,710.
Maiden winner American Act could be the main danger to Creative
Cause in the race that has produced Kentucky Derby winners Silver Charm
(1997), Bold Forbes (1976), Majestic Prince (1969), Lucky Debonair
(1965), Tomy Lee (1959), Swaps (1955), Determine (1954) and Hill Gail
Trained by Jack Carava for Howard and Janet Siegel, American Act
did not break his maiden until his third start on Jan. 16, but he did
so stylishly by two lengths over Baffert’s rapidly developing
Bodemeister. The gelded son of Quiet American covered 5 ½ furlongs in
1:02.39 under Martin Pedroza.
“He looked pretty impressive,” Carava told Daily Racing Form.
“It’s turned out to be a strong race. I think he’s a good horse. The
first time we gave him a race, and the second time he was a good
second.” Pedroza has the return riding call.
The complete field for the San Vicente Stakes, with jockeys and
weights in post position order: Let’s Get Crackin, Victor Espinoza, 118;
Creative Cause, Joel Rosario, 123; Drill, Martin Garcia, 123; Smoking
G, Corey Nakatani, 118; American Act, Martin Pedroza, 118, and Captain
Obvious, Mario Gutierrez, 118.
The San Vicente will be contested as the seventh race on a program of nine races. First post is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.