Trainer Bob Baffert is preparing Mike Pegram's Danthebluegrassman for a start in the March 17 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita.
Following his Golden Gate Derby win, Baffert said the son of Pioneering would likely start next in the El Camino Real Derby, then wavered between that race and the March 2 San Rafael. A lack of Triple Crown candidates in Baffert's barn, however, necessitates the two-time Kentucky Derby winning trainer test Danthebluegrassman's class now rather than later.
"I've only got three (Derby prospects)," Baffert said. "I've got him (Danthebluegrassman), Puerto Banus and Mountain Rage, and that's it."
Danthebluegrassman defeated recent stakes winners Cappuchino and U S S Tinosa in each of his two most recent starts, the Gold Rush Stakes and Golden Gate Derby (gr. III), but will likely have to face Siphonic in the San Felipe.
Baffert's mention of Mountain Rage as a Triple Crown prospect also marks a change in direction. The conditioner previously indicated he'd keep Mountain Rage on turf following a disappointing performance in the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) and a rebound next time out in the Hill Rise Stakes on turf. Baffert said the son of dual surface performer Mecke has been training for a start in the San Felipe.
"He's been training for the dirt," Baffert said. "If Frankel can do it, I can do it. I think he can do it. I'll give him a couple more shots at it. I wouldn't do it if there was a Point Given out there."