Leading West Coast Triple Crown contender Pioneerof the Nile worked five furlongs on Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride March 8 in a bullet :58 4/5 under regular rider Garrett Gomez in preparation for the grade II San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 miles March 14. His work was the fastest of 85 works at the distance.
“He went really nice,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “All systems are go.”
At Oaklawn Park, undefeated Old Fashioned turned in a sharp five-furlong drill in :59, fastest of 18 at the distance.
"Larry (trainer Jones) said it was a great work," owner Rick Porter said.
The San Felipe is expected to have a small field. Trainer Ronny Werner reportedly is considering Pray for Action for the West Coast’s final major prep to the April 4 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I). Pray for Action is a Florida-bred son of Songandaprayer who has been training at the Fair Grounds.
Jeranimo, also being considered for the San Felipe by trainer Mike Pender, worked five furlongs 1:00.20 March 8. Brice Blanc was aboard.
Pioneerof the Nile’s reputation was enhanced dramatically after I Want Revenge raced to an eye-catching 8 1/2-length victory in the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) March 7 at Aqueduct under Talamo. Pioneerof the Nile twice defeated I Want Revenge, in the CashCall Futurity (gr. I) and the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II).
“I Want Revenge had such a great trip,” said Talamo, back at Clockers’ Corner Sunday morning after a flight from New York following the Gotham. “I was really surprised at how easy we got to go, because on paper, I thought they might have gone in :47-flat for the half (mile; the time was :48.45). I mean, :48 to him is like :49. He’s got such a big stride.
“Knock on wood, if everything goes well, we could make it to the (Kentucky) Derby. That’d be sweet.”
Bobby Frankel said all of his participants in Saturday’s races came back well, with Ventura, beaten a nose by Gio Ponti in the grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile on turf, now pointing to the $300,000 Vinery Madison (gr. IT) at Keeneland on April 9.
Asked whether Stardom Bound would face males in the Santa Anita Derby after her desperate nose victory in the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I), Frankel said, “I don’t think so. Talk to the owners.”
Also turning in a bullet work Sunday was Santa Anita Derby candidate Chocolate Candy, who drilled six furlongs in1:12 3/5 at Golden Gate.