Rebel Stakes (gr. II) winner Secret Circle remains on edge for his expected start in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. I) following a bullet five-furlong drill in :58 2/5 at Santa Anita Park March 29.
Trained by Bob Baffert for owners Karl Watson, Mike Pegram, and Paul Weitman, Secret Circle posted his first published workout since winning the March 17 Rebel at Oaklawn Park by three-quarters of a length over Optimizer. His move was the fastest of 37 at the distance on the morning.
Baffert, who was hospitalized in Dubai after suffering a heart attack March 26, won his third consecutive Rebel with Secret Circle. It was Secret Circle's first race around two turns.
A 3-year-old son of Eddington out of the Dixieland Band mare Ragtime Hope, Secret Circle is being primed for a return to Oaklawn for the 1 1/8-mile Arkansas Derby April 14. The bay colt has won his past two starts over the track, also taking a division of the Southwest Stakes (gr. III) Feb. 20. He began the year with a runner-up finish in Santa Anita's Sham Stakes (gr. III) Jan. 7, his only defeat in six lifetime starts.
Secret Circle has earned his way into the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) May 5 at Churchill Downs with $470,000 in graded earnings this year. His total bankroll stands at $818,990.
Baffert's San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) winner Drill, a candidate for the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland April 14, worked one mile on Santa Anita’s main track in 1:38.
Jim Barnes, Baffert's assistant, said March 29 that three horses from their stable -- Blueskiesnrainbows, Liaison , and Paynter -- are headed for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) at 1 1/8 miles April 7, where they will face Creative Cause . He said Bodemeister , runner-up to Creative Cause in the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II), would pass the race in favor of the Arkansas Derby.
Also on the morning's worktab for Baffert at Santa Anita was Peachtree Stable's 2011 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Plum Pretty, who drilled seven furlongs in 1:25 3/5. The 4-year-old daughter of Medaglia d'Oro is yet to start in 2012 but could be pointed toward Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) on April 13 at Oaklawn.