Bob Baffert had three starters in Saturday’s 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 said. “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 Kentucky Oaks on May 4.
“Liaison never has liked this track,” Baffert said. “He ran well
yesterday. He broke his maiden here. But he ran better at Hollywood
Park. (Rafael) 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
“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.”
Bob Baffert worked San Felipe Stakes runner-up Bodemeister in company
with Saddleranch for next Saturday’s Arkansas Derby, Bodemeister going
five furlongs in 1:00.40 under Martin Garcia while Saddleranch was
clocked in 1:00.80 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.
Del Mar Futurity winner Drill also worked for Baffert, going
five furlongs in 1:00.80 with Garcia aboard in preparation for next
Saturday’s Blue Grass at Keeneland.
“I feel better this morning,” said the Hall of Fame trainer,
recovering from a heart attack on March 26. “I was a little weak
yesterday. Now I feel like 100 dollars.”
Gutierrez enjoyed a subdued post-Santa Anita Derby victory
celebration Saturday evening. “I had dinner with friends,” the
25-year-old native of Mexico said.
Impressive maiden winner Holy Candy, who passed the Santa Anita
Derby for the Blue Grass, worked six furlongs Sunday for John Sadler in
1:13.40. The son of Candy Ride will ship into Keeneland “about
Asked about skipping the Santa Anita Derby, Sadler said, “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).”
Asked about the Santa Anita Derby outcome: “It was tough; they
ran good. It’s a really good group this year, from what I’ve seen.”
Sadler also worked comebacking stakes winners Switch and Zazu five furlongs in 1:00.80 and 1:01.60, respectively.
Joe Talamo, on a roll in recent weeks, had high praise for
Blueskiesnrainbows. “We had an unbelievable trip. 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.
“But 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.”