(from Santa Anita)
Trainer Bob Baffert said Lookin At Lucky 's response to training will determine whether the Triple Crown contender will run in the Santa Anita Derby on April 3 or will wait an additional week to return to Oaklawn Park for the Arkansas Derby (gr. I).
A determined winner of the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn March 13, the 2009 juvenile champion is among the favorites for the May 1 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). The son of Smart Strike--Private Feeling, by Belong to Me, is based at Santa Anita with Baffert.
“It depends on how he’s training,” the Hall of Fame conditioner said March 20 at Santa Anita's Clockers’ Corner. “If he’s training really well here, it (running in the Santa Anita Derby) would give him an extra week for the (Kentucky) Derby. If he needed the extra week (before running again), I’ll go to Arkansas. If he doesn’t need the extra week, I’ll stay here.”
With Garrett Gomez aboard, Lookin at Lucky won the Rebel while wearing blinkers for the first time. It was also his first race over a dirt surface, which he won with a late charge to edge Noble's Promise by a neck. It was Lookin at Lucky's sixth win in seven starts for owners Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman. He has won $1,423,000 and leads the nation's 3-year-olds in graded earnings with $1,390,000.
Baffert has won the Santa Anita Derby five times, with Cavonnier (1996), Indian Charlie (1998), General Challenge (1999), Horse of the Year Point Given (2001) and Pioneerof the Nile last year. He has won the Kentucky Derby three times, but not since 2002, when War Emblem posted a front-running victory at 20-1.
San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) winner Sidney's Candy, Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) victor Caracortado and fast-developing Alphie's Bet, who captured the Sham Stakes (gr. III) in his last start, are among the probable contenders in the Santa Anita Derby. Others expected are Setsuko, Thomas Baines, Posse Power, Cardiff Giant and Who's Up.
Outlaw Man, from the Ken McPeek stable, will pass the Santa Anita Derby to run in the $500,000 Lane’s End Stakes (gr. II) at 1 1/8 miles at Turfway Park on March 27. “He leaves Monday for Kentucky,” said Jordan Blair, McPeek's assistant.
Alex Solis, who worked the gray son of Forest Wildcat four furlongs on Pro-Ride March 20 in :47.80, has the mount in Kentucky.
“The work was good,” Blair said. “He’s very happy.”