Vindication in 'Easy Work' at Santa Anita; Next Start Undecided

Vindication in 'Easy Work' at Santa Anita; Next Start Undecided
Photo: Benoit photo <p><p><p>
Vindication worked under Dana Barnes Sunday.
Padua Stables' Vindication worked a half-mile in ::49 3/5 handily over Santa Anita's main track Sunday with Dana Barnes aboard.

The move was a maintenance work, according to trainer Bob Baffert, who was on his way out of town soon after supervising the move. He said he's looking forward to a couple of days of skiing in Idaho to celebrate his 50th birthday, which is Monday.

"It was just an easy work," Baffert said. "Good horses like this one make it so easy. All I have to do is keep him happy and healthy and he does the rest."

A next start for Vindication, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) hero, is still up in the air, Baffert said. The undefeated son of Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew is a finalist for the Eclipse Award as last year's top 2-year-old, along with fellow grade one winners Toccet and Sky Mesa.

"Nope, no plans. Nothing. He's the kind of horse who I could get ready just like that," Baffert said, snapping his fingers. "He was never really out of training, even though he wasn't working. He's a fit horse and there's not an ounce of fat on him, which makes my job that much easier."

Baffert also sent out Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) runner-up Domestic Dispute for a breeze on Sunday and the colt was timed in 1:11 3/5 handily for six furlongs. He is expected to start next in Saturday's Santa Catalina Stakes (gr II).

Tizbud Tired But On Target

Cees Stable's Tizbud emerged from his third-place effort in Saturday's San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II) tired, but otherwise in good shape, according to trainer John Sadler's assistant, Larry Benavidez. The four-year-old half-brother to 2000's Horse of the Year, Tiznow, made his stakes debut in the 1 1/16-mile event and finished just four lengths behind Pass Rush and Tracemark, two seasoned stakes veterans.

"He ran really well and we're all very happy about it," Benavidez said. "He ran really hard and he's tired, but he's doing fine. He had a really tough trip, getting bumped out of the gate and dogged by that other horse (Traditional) all the way. But he dug in and never gave up and showed what a nice horse he is."

Benavidez said that, as of now, Tizbud is still being pointed toward the Feb. 1 Strub Stakes (gr. II), which is a sixteenth of a mile farther than the San Fernando.

"The competition is definitely not getting any easier, what with Medaglia d'Oro going in there and Pass Rush probably coming back, but I think Tizbud showed he could run with those types of horses yesterday. He's also just like (Tiznow) in that he wants more distance. A mile and a quarter is perfect for this horse."

Southern Image hopeful for Sunshine Millions

Florida-bred Southern Image, considered a possible starter in the Jan. 25 Sunshine Millions race for three-year-olds, worked six furlongs in 1:12 handily at Santa Anita Sunday. The Florida-bred son of Halo's Image is best known as the winner over highly-regarded Ministers Wild Cat in their first meeting on opening day at Santa Anita Dec. 26. The latter runner came back to win a maiden-special-weight test Saturday in impressive fashion.

"It sure makes (Southern Image) look nice," trainer Mike Machowsky said of the dark brown sophomore, referring to Minister's Wild Cat's win. "But it sure adds the pressure. Fortunately I have good, patient owners so I can do the right thing. I don't know if we'll have enough money to get into the Sunshine Millions race, so we'll go into a non-winners 'other than' race here and go on from there."

Most Popular Stories