Rojo Toro Sharp in Workout, May Return in Malibu

Hal J. Earnhardt III's grade II winner Rojo Toro, who hasn't raced since a fifth-place finish in the San Pedro Stakes at Santa Anita March 22, is back in full training and getting ready for a return to action within the next few weeks, trainer Bob Baffert said.

The chestnut son of Mountain Cat and Pinta (by Carson City) worked seven furlongs in 1:26 3/5 over Santa Anita's fast main track Friday morning with jockey Ryan Fogelsonger aboard. The 3-year-old worked in company with the 2-year-old Misty'sgoldentouch, a recent private purchase who logged a time of 1:25 4/5 for the distance under regular exercise rider Dana Barnes.

"After that work I'm thinking about running him in the Malibu," Baffert said. "I don't know for sure, but I'm seriously considering it."

Florida-bred Rojo Toro won his first two races by a combined margin of 12 ¾ lengths before taking the March 1 San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) by a length and subsequently finishing off the board in the San Pedro. He was given a break over the summer, but has been back in serious training since early fall. Overall he's won three of his four career starts for earnings of $150,674.

Misty'sgoldentouch was purchased by Baffert after the son of Touch Gold and Sweet Misty (by Lucky So n' So) broke his maiden at Sam Houston in early November by 8 ¾ lengths.

The $250,000 Malibu Stakes, a seven-furlong event for 3-year-olds on Santa Anita's opening day Dec. 26, is already drawing a standout cast of probable candidates, including Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) hero Cajun Beat, Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) victor Buddy Gil and top graded stakes winners Posse, Zavata, and Toccet.

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