While anyone was free to speculate on Flashback’s next race, Bob
Baffert was tight-
lipped on the issue Sunday morning, saying for the record only that the
impressive 6 ¼-length winner of Saturday’s Grade II Robert B. Lewis
Stakes came out of the race in good shape and that he had “no game plan”
at the moment.
“I didn’t even sleep on it,” Baffert said on a summer-like Super
Bowl morning. “I
worry about Game On Dude.” Flashback’s long-range agenda, however, could
include the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 6.
Gary Young, however, was more verbose. The candid private
clocker, now in his 35th year of scrutinizing Thoroughbred workouts in
Southern California, which includes his home base of Santa Anita, was
not inclined to go overboard and put Flashback in the winner’s circle at
Churchill Downs on May 4, the date of this year’s Kentucky Derby.
“I think Den’s Legacy is a solid horse, but not a Derby horse,”
said Young, speaking of another Baffert Triple Crown hopeful who was
second to Flashback in the Lewis.
“He’s Had Enough (third in the Lewis, beaten nearly seven
lengths) is not a very good work horse and his work for the Lewis was
not good. He was getting beat on at the quarter pole just to try and
maintain his position.”
“Kind of by process of elimination, anything less than what we
got from Flashback would have been a disappointment. Maybe next time he
runs he’ll face Demonic for (John) Sadler and Curly Top and others for
Baffert, who probably is going to start dividing his (Triple Crown)
“Flashback will have a lot better horses running at him when he
goes for the Roses. But did he run good? Yes. Yes he did . . . But (with
only two starts to date) he’s playing catch up like some of the others
nationwide . . . so we’ll see.”
Sham Stakes winner Goldencents was the West Coast’s 3-year-old
leader in the clubhouse before Flashback’s eye-catching Lewis triumph.
The Doug O’Neill-trainee is ticketed for the Grade II San Felipe Stakes
at 1 1/16 miles on March 9, a race that could attract Flashback should
Baffert decide to keep the gray son of Tapit at home.
“That would be a match to look forward to,” said Doug’s brother, Dennis.