Tiznow Heads Large Field in Big 'Cap

Tiznow Heads Large Field in Big 'Cap
Photo: Associated Press/Benoit Photo
Wooden Phone, defeating Tiznow in the Strub, seeks another upset over the champion in the Big 'Cap.
Breeders' Cup Classic winner and Horse of the Year Tiznow drew post position No. 5 Thursday for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap this weekend.

The 4-year-old colt is the 8-5 morning line favorite, followed by the Bob Baffert-trained Wooden Phone, who upset Tiznow in the Strub Stakes, at 5-1. Wooden Phone drew the No. 2 hole.

Thirteen horses have been entered in the prestigious race, including turf champion Bienamado and grade II winner Guided Tour.

Tiznow has plagued all week by two quarter cracks on his right front foot. An epoxy patch was placed over the crack and laced together with wire and screws. Tiznow galloped two miles Tuesday and trainer Jay Robbins said the colt appears fit to run. Tiznow's connections were also pleased with the draw.

"He's been at a disadvantage before with the No. 13 hole in the Breeders' Cup and he still won," said jockey Chris McCarron, who will be aboard Tiznow on Saturday. "He's been showing lots of energy and shows no signs of discomfort with the foot."

McCarron is also the regular rider for Bienamado but opted to stay with the Horse of the Year despite the foot problems. Alex Solis will be aboard Bienamado.

Saturday's field is the largest in Santa Anita Handicap recent history since 1987 when Broad Brush won.

Bob Baffert, who trains both Wooden Phone and Tribunal, said many owners are probably willing to take a shot at Tiznow because of his recent setbacks.

"People are figuring that if Tiznow doesn't show up, they have a pretty good shot," he said. "If Tiznow doesn't run his race, it is a wide-open field. But Tiznow is still the horse to beat."

Baffert said Wooden Phone's training regimen was interrupted by a virus that knocked him out for a week. He doesn't know how the colt will respond but said is willing to take another crack at Tiznow.

"He really surprised us last time but we are definitely the underdog once again," Baffert said.

After nearly a week of rain in Southern California, the forecast calls for sunny skies for Big 'Cap day.

Two horses, Nurdlinger and Moonlight Charger, are coupled in a field bet.

From the rail the post positions, with jockeys and morning line odds, are: Perssonet (Brice Blanc) 20-1; Wooden Phone (Cory Nakatani) 5-1; Beat All (Gary Stevens) 12-1; Irisheyesareflying (Kent Desormeaux) 10-1; Tiznow (Chris McCarron) 8-5; Nurdlinger (Jose Valvidia) 30-1; Jimmy Z (Victor Espinoza) 12-1; Guided Tour (Larry Melancon) 6-1; Moonlight Charger (Tyler Baze) 30-1; Tribunal (David Flores) 15-1; Jarrocks (Garret Gomez) 30-1; Lethal Instrument (Laffit Pincay Jr. ) 15-1; Bienamado (Alex Solis) 8-1.

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