Santa Anita Derby, WinStar Derby Hopefuls Work on West Coast

Santa Anita Derby, WinStar Derby Hopefuls Work on West Coast
Photo: Benoit photos
Domestic Dispute, working toward Santa Anita Derby.
A trio of Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) hopefuls stretched their legs in morning workouts at Santa Anita Park on Tuesday in preparation for the track's final Kentucky Derby (gr. I) prep event. The 1 1/8-mile stakes, worth $750,000, is set to be contested on Saturday, Apr. 5.

B. Wayne Hughes' and Seabiscuit Partners' Atswhatimtalknbout, beaten a nose in the Mar. 17 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II), had Hall of Famer Chris McCarron in the irons for his half-mile in :48 4/5, breezing. Trainer Ron Ellis was extremely pleased with the move, which was the 16th fastest of the 29 who went four furlongs on the day.

"I told Chris to go in :48 or :49 and I caught him in :48 and two, so it was right on," Ellis said.

McCarron, who will start his new duties as Santa Anita's vice president and general manager on Mar. 31, was also happy with the colt's effort and the way he's progressing into a legitimate Kentucky Derby (gr. I) candidate.

"He looks terrific," McCarron said. "He's really getting thick. Physically he looks like he's getting fitter and he's lost some of that baby fat.

"I did have to get after him a little bit (in the stretch) because he gawks around at things a little bit," McCarron said. "But he's very responsive when you do that and lengthened his stride nicely in the last furlong. He's a bit like a bicycle in that if you're not peddling a little bit he's not going forward."

According to Ellis, Atswhatimtalknbout will work one last time before the Santa Anita Derby on Sunday or Monday.

"I think I may throw a little company at him," Ellis said, "just to keep his mind on business."

Bob Baffert was back in California from his quick trip to Chicago, where he purchased Senor Swinger for Robert and Beverly Lewis, to supervise the works for several of his Triple Crown hopefuls, most notably The Thoroughbred Corp.'s Kafwain and Gary Garber's Domestic Dispute, who are scheduled to meet up in the Santa Anita Derby.

The last time they squared off was in the Dec. 14 Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) where Kafwain finished second, but was knocked down to fourth behind Domestic Dispute after bumping his stablemate on the turn of the 1 1/16-mile race.

Under regular rider Dana Barnes, Domestic Dispute worked five furlongs in :58 4/5, handily, the seventh fastest of 64 workers at the distance. The son of Unbridled's Song, who won the Jan. 18 Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II), finished fifth as the favorite in the San Felipe last time out.

Shortly after Atswhatimtalknbout completed his work, Kafwain went six furlongs under Dana Barnes in company with stablemate Requesto. Kafwain, who was second in the Mar. 9 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) in his last start, broke off about two lengths behind Requesto, reached even terms with his workmate at the top of the stretch, took the lead soon after and crossed the wire in 1:10 4/5, handily, which was the fastest of 23 who went three-quarters on Tuesday. Requesto was awarded a final time of :59 4/5, handily, for his five furlong effort.

Also on the worktab for Baffert Tuesday were WinStar Derby hopefuls Spensive and Apalachian Thunder, who went five furlongs in :58 2/5 and :59 1/5, respectively. Spensive finished second to stablemate Rojo Toro in the Mar. 1 San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) last time out while Apalachian Thunder was unplaced in the grassy Baldwin Stakes (gr. III) on Feb. 23 in his last start.

The duo will ship to Sunland Park for Sunday's $500,000 event in the next couple of days.

Across town at Hollywood Park, Sham Stakes winner Man Among Men went three furlongs in :37 4/5, handily, for trainer Gary Mandella. No next start has been announced for the Kentucky-bred son of Gentlemen, who was reported to have bled while finishing seventh in the San Felipe last time out.

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