(from Santa Anita stable notes)
Craig Dollase thinks grade III winner El Gato Malo will be even tougher in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on April 5 thanks to his recent defeat.
El Gato Malo, an El Corredor gelding owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, lost by three-quarters of a length to Colonel John in the 1 1/8-mile Sham Stakes (gr. III) on March 1 while encountering traffic problems on the final turn.
“He was sitting behind horses and had a little dirt in his face,” Dollase said. “I think he did learn a lot from it. He was able to rate behind horses and finish, so we’re taking steps in the right direction, I think.”
El Gato Malo, who won the San Rafael Jan. 12 and was undefeated prior to the Sham, worked seven furlongs at Hollywood Park March 22 in 1:24 3/5.
“He went real nice, and I had him galloping out a mile in 1:37 and change,” Dollase said. “He worked real well. He came back great and got a lot out of the work.”
In the Santa Anita Derby, El Gato Malo is expected to face a field that includes Colonel John and San Felipe (gr. II) winner Georgie Boy.
Elsewhere, trainer Jim Kasparoff left the door open for Bob Black Jack to run in the Santa Anita Derby rather than the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) on April 12. Third in the San Felipe at 1 1/16 miles in his first race beyond two turns, Bob Black Jack worked four furlongs March 23 under Corey Black in :48 seconds flat.
“It was his first work back (from the March 15 San Felipe) and it was just an easy move,” Kasparoff said. “He galloped out really good and he’s doing good. I nominated to the Santa Anita Derby, but as long as I can get in at Arkansas, it’s probably where I’m going to go.”