Sweet Catomine Works Smoothly for SA Derby

Sweet Catomine Works Smoothly for  SA Derby
Photo: Benoit photo
Sweet Catomine gets in final work before Santa Anita Derby.
Champion Sweet Catomine was put through her final prep before she faces the boys for the first time in Saturday's $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), logging five furlongs in :59 1/5 under jockey Corey Nakatani on Sunday morning.

The move was the second fastest of 52 who went the distance on the day.

"She's doing so good right now," trainer Julio Canani said. "I just hope she stays that way for a long time."

Canani, who has carried the label as one of the nation's top turf trainers thanks mostly to a pair of Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. I) winners, is thoroughly enjoying his experience developing Marty and Pam Wygod's homebred daughter of Storm Cat.

"Before, (the Wygod's) only sent me horses with grass pedigrees," Canani said. "I only got older horses. I like young horses and this filly is special. I like young women like her; it's much easier to keep a woman happy and Sweet Catomine is no exception."

A three-time grade I winner, including the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) and the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) in her most recent start, Sweet Catomine's record stands at 6-5-1-0 for earnings of $1,044,600.

Also Sunday, B. Wayne Hughes' fellow Santa Anita Derby hopeful Don't Get Mad posted a five-furlong work in 1:00 2/5 at Hollywood Park under jockey Tyler Baze. Trainer Ron Ellis said he actually worked six furlongs, which he caught in 1:14 over a fast main track.

"It was a good work," Ellis said. "He's pretty fit so he didn't have to do too much."

The weather forecast for Saturday calls for a slight chance for rain. Ellis said he's hopeful the track will stay dry enough so that track superintendent Steve Wood won't have to seal it. Ellis felt a sealed track hindered the son of Stephen Got Even when he finished third in the March 19 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II).

"I hope the rain holds off or it's not enough (to seal the track)," Ellis said. "We don't want to have to scratch and ship (to the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park the following week)."

A full field of as many as 12 sophomores may line up for the Santa Anita Derby.

"That's nuts," Ellis said of the possible large field. "We definitely don't want to draw the outside. But I guess if we're eventually going to run against 20 we might as well run against 12 now."

Don't Get Mad won his first two starts at Churchill Downs last year as a 2-year-old before being sent to Ellis in California. In addition to his third in the San Felipe, the bay Kentucky-bred was second in the San Vicente Stakes (gr. II). He's earned $120,290.

Turf Paradise Derby winner General John B, who is also expected to start in the Santa Anita Derby, worked six furlongs in 1:14 3/5 at Santa Anita under jockey Jon Court for trainer Roger Stein. The Ross McLeod colorbearer, who is a Florida-bred gelding by Sweetsouthernsaint, finished eighth in the March 5 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) in his last start.

Winner, Bienstock, Papiano and Noctis LLC's Wannawinemall, second in the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) in his last start, worked six furlongs in 1:13 4/5 under jockey Alex Solis at Santa Anita's main track on Saturday. Solis will be aboard the nearly black son of Royal Anthem for the first time in the Santa Anita Derby.

"After he worked him Alex said, 'We're going to get along just fine,'" co-owner Chuck Winner said.

Stonerside and Preferred Pals Stable's Whirlaway Stakes (gr. III) winner Sort It Out, third in Saturday's WinStar Derby (gr. III) at Sunland Park, will most likely start next in the April 23 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II), trainer Bob Baffert said.

"If he's OK, I'm going to run him in the Lexington. They should call it the 'Last Chance to Make the Big Dance Lexington Stakes,'" Baffert joked.

Sort It Out, a chestnut son of Out of Place has won four of 11 starts, with a second and a third, for earnings of $207,375. Stonerside purchased a majority interest in the Kentucky-bred for an undisclosed sum from Preferred Pals Stable after the colt won the Feb. 12 Whirlaway and he was transferred to Baffert's care. He made his first start for his new connections in the March 12 Louisiana Derby (gr. II), finishing eighth.

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