Brancusi Tightens for San Felipe with Bullet

Michael Tabor's Brancusi was put through his final preparations for next Sunday's San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) with a bullet seven-furlong work in 1:27 2/5 handily over Santa Anita's fast main track Saturday morning.

The son of Deputy Commander and the Alysheba mare, Treize, had jockey Tony Farina in the irons. Farina will also be aboard the colt for his return to stakes company in the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe.

"I will be very pleased if he finishes first, second or third," trainer Patrick Biancone said. "My gamble here is if he's good enough in April and early May. I know for sure that he's a Belmont Stakes horse, but is he for sure a Derby horse? That's what I think the San Felipe is going to tell us."

Brancusi earned his maiden victory by a widening five lengths in his last start at a mile on the main track. He also owns a second and two thirds from five career starts for earnings of $49,220. In his only previous stakes attempt, he was a tiring sixth in the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park last fall.

Should all work out well for Brancusi in the San Felipe, Biancone thinks the colt's next stop on the Triple Crown trail will be in Lexington, Kentucky, for the April 12 Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.

"That's a good spot because he'll be going one month (from his maiden victory), then one month (to the San Felipe), then one month (to the Blue Grass) then three weeks (to the Derby), which works out very well.

"We've brought him along slowly and he continues to develop, but will he have developed fast enough to be ready in the first week of May?" Biancone asked. "We keep him tight, but we don't tighten too much because there's no use if he doesn't have enough class and ability to get there at the right time."

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