One of the top juveniles of last year will need a bit of help in order to make his 2004 debut in the $100,000 Baldwin Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Santa Anita Park.
An oversubscribed field of 14 3-year-olds –including two also eligibles – is entered in the Baldwin at about 6 ½ furlongs on the hillside turf course. Roi Charmant and Minister Eric compose the latter set of runners.
Although he finished second in both the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Del Mar Futurity while earning over $387,000, Minister Eric's lone victory was in a maiden special weight at Hollywood Park. Horses with two career victories are accorded preference, and when the race oversubscribed, a random draw was held among the nine colts that have never beaten winners. Only seven spots were available.
Minister Eric will need two scratches to draw into the Baldwin, a strong possibility since several horses were entered in the event the race is washed off the turf and onto the main track.
Minister Eric emerged from the Breeders' Cup with sore shins and also had surgery to remove bone chips from an ankle and a knee. Trainer Richard Mandella said the switch to turf is being made simplly to get a race into the Old Trieste colt.
Buddy Gil won last year's Baldwin and wound up winning the Santa Anita Derby as "Horse of the Meeting."
Alex Solis would have the mount on Minister Eric, who is owned by Jerry Ford's Diamond A Racing Corporation. Ford also owns Breeders' Cup Classic winner Pleasantly Perfect, the heavy favorite for next week's $1-million Santa Anita Handicap.
Saint Afleet (Northern Afleet
--Saintly Silk), the co-high weight at 122 pounds along with stakes-winning Don'tsellmeshort and Irish-bred Gwaihir, has never raced on grass before.
Saint Afleet, bred in Florida, won the NATC Dash for 3-year-olds on Sunshine Millions day Jan. 24 at Santa Anita in his last start.
The California-bred Don'tsellmeshort won the Cal Breeders' Champion Stakes at Santa Anita Dec. 26 and the Graduation Stakes at Del Mar July 30. Both were restricted races.$100,000 Baldwin Stakes (gr. IIIT), 3-year-olds, about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Matt Blanc (IRE), 114, Martin A. Pedroza
2. Seattle Borders (FL), 114, Alex O. Solis
3. Wimplestiltskin (KY), 114, Jose Valdivia, Jr.
4. Saint Afleet (FL), 122, Kent J. Desormeaux
5. Don'tsellmeshort (CA), 122, Mike E. Smith
6. Teton Forest (KY), 114, Javier Santiago
7. Rush Into Heaven (KY), 117, Tyler Baze
8. Gwaihir (IRE), 122, David R. Flores
9. Trois Villes (KY, 114, Mick Ruis
10. Moulin de Mougins (IRE), 114, Gary L. Stevens
11. Stalking Tiger (CA), 117, G. F. Almeida
12. Jungle Prince (KY), 114, Victor Espinoza
AE. Roi Charmant (KY), 114, Corey S. Nakatani
AE. Minister Eric (KY), 114, Alex O. Solis