November 30, 2022

Tough field set for Santa Anita Derby; Beholder stars in Oaks

Last updated: 4/3/13 6:41 PM


Tough field set for Santa Anita Derby; Beholder stars in
Oaks

A contentious field of nine has been assembled to go nine furlongs in
Saturday’s Grade 1, $750,000
Santa
Anita Derby
, the West Coast’s major prep for the May 4 Kentucky Derby.
Whoever wins the race is guaranteed a spot in the starting gate under the Twin
Spires via the 100 points awarded in the new Road to the Kentucky Derby points
system.

The Santa Anita Derby was captured last year by eventual Kentucky Derby and
Preakness winner I’ll Have Another, and Hear the Ghost is hoping for the same
result this time around. The Ghostzapper gelding surprised at nearly 6-1 in the
Grade 2 San Felipe on March 9 and will be looking to prove that half-length win
was no fluke on Saturday.

Hear the Ghost entered the San Felipe off a nice closing runner-up effort in
the San Pedro, and utilized similar tactics for his first stakes win. The Jerry
Hollendorfer pupil looked out of contention on the backstretch as Flashback and
Goldencents battled it out on the front end, but kicked into gear rounding the
turn. With Tiz a Minister hot on his hooves, the chestnut sailed past the early
leaders to both score and vault into Kentucky Derby contention.

Hear the Ghost shipped back to his trainer’s Hollywood Park base following
the San Felipe and visited the Cushion Track three times since that impressive
win, most recently going five furlongs in 1:02 last Saturday. Corey Nakatani was
aboard last out and retains the mount.

Tiz a Minister has proven to be a versatile, and competitive, runner on dirt,
turf and synthetics thus far in his 10-race career. The Paul Aguirre trainee
scored in a state-bred stakes prior to the San Felipe, which was his first try
past a mile, and based on that should relish the extra sixteenth of a mile in
the Santa Anita Derby. While he might not have been able to catch Hear the
Ghost, the Minister’s Wild Cat colt just missed second by a half-length when the
wire came up too quickly to pass Flashback.

Tiz a Minister loses rider Garrett Gomez to Flashback this time around and
will have jockey Joe Talamo in the irons.

Flashback sought to move his record to a perfect three-for-three in the San
Felipe, but appeared to be tiring after his pacesetting duel with Goldencents.
Trained by Bob Baffert, the gray son of Tapit entered that race off a 6
1/4-length romp in the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis in just his second career start
and could be tougher this time around following that learning experience.

Baffert will also send out Super Ninety Nine and Power Broker in the Santa
Anita Derby. Super Ninety Nine was fifth just three weeks ago in the Grade 2
Rebel at Oaklawn Park. The Pulpit chestnut took full advantage of a sloppy,
sealed track in the Grade 3 Southwest on February 18 to dominate that race by 11
1/4 lengths, but probably needs at least a second in Saturday’s contest if he
hopes to the make the Kentucky Derby field.

Power Broker is returning from a more than five-month break, having last been
seen running fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Prior to that, the Pulpit colt
posted a 6 1/2-length win in the Grade 1 FrontRunner. Rafael Bejarano has been
aboard for all of Power Broker’s races thus far and stays in the saddle
Saturday.

Goldencents currently sits in 15th on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 29
points, but could easily be bumped farther down the list with the final major
preps taking place over the next few weekends. The Into Mischief colt stamped
himself as one to watch last year at Del Mar when taking his debut by 7 1/4
lengths, then ran second to juvenile champion Shanghai Bobby in the Grade 1
Champagne.

Trainer Doug O’Neill, who saddled I’ll Have Another last year in both Derbys
and the Preakness, bypassed on the Breeders’ Cup with Goldencents, instead
sending him out to a 1 3/4-length victory in the Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot in
mid-November. The bay captured his sophomore bow in the Grade 3 Sham, but
refused to relax in the San Felipe and found himself caught up in a speed duel
with Flashback to eventually finish fourth.

A better run in the Santa Anita Derby could see Goldencents giving O’Neill
another shot at Kentucky Derby glory.

Also entered in the race are Sham fifth-placer Dirty Swagg and maiden winners
Summer Exclusive and Storm Fighter.

The stakes action on Santa Anita’s Saturday card will kick off in the Grade
1, $300,000
Santa
Anita Oaks
, which will feature a rematch between champion juvenile filly
Beholder and Fiftyshadesofhay.

The pair met up last out in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes, with Beholder easily
pulling off the 3 3/4-length wire victory over her rival. The Richard Mandella
charge was looking for a return to the winner’s circle after a stunning loss to
20-1 shot Renee’s Titan in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez. Not long after that race,
though, Beholder was diagnosed with a throat ulcer and returned to the form that
saw her taking the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies last year.

Gomez never lost faith in the filly and will be back in the irons on
Saturday.

Fiftyshadesofhay ran herself into Kentucky Oaks contention when taking the
Grade 3 Santa Ysabel by 5 3/4 lengths on January 26 for Baffert. The Pulpit
filly put in a good effort in the Las Virgenes, but was clearly second best that
day.

Baffert and Mandella will each saddle a second runner in the Santa Anita Oaks
in maiden winner Black Witch and allowance victress Spellbound, respectively.

The Oaks field is completed by allowance scorer Could Be Trouble and the
unbeaten Iotapa.



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