Two horses who were considered top prospects for Kentucky Derby 2023 were taken off the trail this week when their owners did not transfer them from Bob Baffert to eligible trainers before a Tuesday deadline set this year by Churchill Downs.
Runners-up Cave Rock from the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Faustin from the San Vicente (G2) are “still under my care,” Baffert said in a text message to Horse Racing Nation on Wednesday afternoon. That response also applied to Speed Boat Beach, once a prime Derby prospect who has not raced since he won the Cecil B. DeMille (G3) in December at Del Mar.
Baffert temporarily transferred eight horses to Tim Yakteen and one each to Brittany Russell, Brendan Walsh and Steve Asmussen, making them eligible to earn qualifying points for the Derby. Yakteen, who took on two of Baffert’s colts last spring, said in a separate text message to HRN he had no other horses transferred to him this week.
Seven horses who had been in Baffert’s name were entered to race for Derby points Saturday. With Yakteen as the trainer of record, National Treasure, Hejazi, Mr Fisk and Fort Bragg were drawn into the San Felipe (G2) at Santa Anita. Yakteen also entered Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) winner Practical Move, whom he has been training all along.
Carmel Road, who was second last out in the Los Al Futurity, was transferred from Baffert to Yakteen to race in the Gotham (G3) at Aqueduct.
Fort Warren, who finished third in the San Vicente (G3) on Jan. 29 at Santa Anita, was cross-entered by Russell into both the Gotham and Monday’s City of Brotherly Love Stakes at Parx Racing. Russell told HRN that although the SF Racing partnership would have the final say, she expected the Curlin colt to race for Derby points in the Gotham. The Brotherly Love was a good fit and served as a backup, she said, in case Fort Warren did not draw into the New York race.
Gilmore, who ran second last month in the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields, will race for Walsh on another synthetic track Saturday night in the John Battaglia Memorial, a lesser points prep at Turfway Park.
Conspicuous by his absence from the entry box and recent work tabs was Arabian Knight, who has alternated with Eclipse Award victor Forte all winter as the Derby futures favorite in Las Vegas. The 2-for-2 winner of the Southwest (G3) on Jan. 28 at Oaklawn also went to Yakteen, who did not confirm a Los Angeles Times report that Arabian Knight likely would race next in the Arkansas Derby (G1) or Santa Anita Derby (G1).
Baffert has been ineligible for the Derby since Churchill Downs suspended him in May 2021. That was when the late Medina Spirit failed a drug test after finishing first in the Derby. His victory was stripped last winter. The controversy has been the centerpiece of lawsuits brought by Baffert and owner Amr Zedan.
|Horse||New trainer||Owner||The buzz|
|Arabian Knight||Tim Yakteen||Zedan Racing||May go in Ark. Derby (G1) or SA Derby (G1).|
|Arabian Lion||Tim Yakteen||Zedan Racing||4th in Bob Lewis (G3), worked 3f Feb. 19 at SA.|
|Carmel Road||Tim Yakteen||SF Racing, et al.||Entered in Gotham (G3) on Saturday at AQU.|
|Cave Rock||Not transferred||Mike Pegram, et al.||2nd in BC Juvenile, resumed workouts in Feb.|
|Faustin||Not transferred||Michael Lund Petersen||2nd in San Vicente (G3), 2 bullet works in Feb.|
|Fort Bragg||Tim Yakteen||SF Racing, et al.||Entered in San Felipe (G2) on Saturday at SA.|
|Fort Warren||Brittany Russell||SF Racing, et al.||Cross-entered Sat. in Gotham & Mon. at PRX.|
|Gilmore||Brendan Walsh||SF Racing, et al.||Entered in Battaglia Memorial on Saturday at TP.|
|Harlocap||Steve Asmussen||Harlo Stables & Villa Rose||6th place in Risen Star (G2) derails Derby hopes.|
|Hejazi||Tim Yakteen||Zedan Racing||Entered in San Felipe (G2) on Saturday at SA.|
|Mr Fisk||Tim Yakteen||Sonny Brook||Entered in San Felipe (G2) on Saturday at SA.|
|National Treasure||Tim Yakteen||SF Racing, et al.||Entered in San Felipe (G2) on Saturday at SA.|
|Reincarnate||Tim Yakteen||SF Racing, et al.||3rd in Rebel (G2), no next race was mentioned.|
|Speed Boat Beach||Not transferred||Mike Pegram, et al.||1st in C.B. DeMille (G3), resumed works in Jan.|