Out of Bounds rallied in the stretch to beat 1-2 favorite Secret
Circle by a half-length in the Grade III, $100,000 Sham Stakes, the
first Kentucky Derby prep of the season at Santa Anita on Saturday.
Secret Circle, who led briefly into the stretch, lost for the
first time in four career starts for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.
Ridden by Garrett Gomez, 10-1 shot Out of Bounds ran a mile
in 1:34.56 and paid $22.60, $5.80 and $4.40. Gomez extended his streak
of consecutive stakes victories at the track to four dating to New
Year's Day when he turned 40.
Secret Circle, last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint winner,
returned $2.80 and $2.10, while Longview Drive was another half-length
back in third and paid $4 to show. They were the only two stakes winners
in the field of five 3-year-olds.
Trained by Eoin Harty, Out of Bounds is out of 2001 BC
Distaff winner Unbridled Elaine and is by Discreet Cat, the 2006 UAE
Derby winner who never raced in the Triple Crown series. The colt is
owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who races as Darley
Out of Bounds was fourth in his career debut at Santa Anita last fall and then won across town at Hollywood Park last month.
"He's a very big horse, but he's a gentle giant," Harty said.
"He's come around mentally as well as physically, and sometimes it
takes a while for both to catch up."
Harty has been on the Triple Crown trail before with Colonel
John, who won the 2008 Sham Stakes and Santa Anita Derby. He went on to
finish sixth in the Kentucky Derby.
"He's the closest thing to Colonel John I've had in a long
time," the trainer said about Out of Bounds, whose next start is
undecided but will be another of the upcoming Kentucky Derby preps at
Secret Circle was stretching out to a mile for the first time after proving himself to be a good sprinter.
"He just got beat. He didn't shut it down," Baffert said. "He
wasn't exhausted when he came back, so it was a good experience for
him. It was the first time he was able to rate off of horses. I think he
got a lot out of it."
Rafael Bejarano said Secret Circle showed a big kick at the
top of the stretch, when he was battling Longview Drive for the lead.
"At the same time, he started looking at the horse on the
rail," Bejarano said. "My horse tried to stay close to him and that's
why he lugged in. That's when I started hitting him. He passed the
inside horse, but wasn't paying attention to the outside horse (Out of
Coming off the stretch turn, Gomez thought he was going to run right by Secret Circle.
"But this horse is just young enough to where he doesn't
quite understand everything about the game yet," he said. "I had to
spank him a couple times to let him understand what I was wanting from
him, and when I got into him a little bit he progressed and went
Baffert was noncommittal on his future plans for Secret
Circle, owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, the trio who
owned 2010 Preakness winner Lookin At Lucky.
Handsome Mike was fourth and Hierro fifth.