Fed Biz, an early hopeful on the Triple Crown trail for owner Kaleem Shah and trainer Bob Baffert in February, returns to action in the $100,000 El Cajon Stakes Aug. 31 at Del Mar.
The 3-year-old son of Giant's Causeway , a $950,000 purchase at the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sale, produced an impressive victory in a mile allowance/optional claiming race at Santa Anita Park Feb. 9, covering the distance in 1:34.74 and earning a 97 Beyer speed figure.
"Kentucky Derby" flashed in a lot of minds and, despite Fed Biz having never competed at the stakes level, his name was high in many Derby Watch polls. A month later, however, came the announcement that Fed Biz was off the Derby trail due to a "hind end issue" that wasn't readily specified or diagnosed.
"It was muscular, not skeletal," Baffert said Aug. 30. "We gave him 60 days off, then started easy training again. He's been doing really well down here."
On Aug. 19, Fed Biz turned in a six-furlong bullet move in 1:10 flat over Del Mar's Polytrack. In his most recent drill over the track, he was clocked in 1:12 2/5 for six furlongs, third-fastest of 24 on the morning.
Fed Biz, with Joe Talamo riding, is the 2-1 morning line favorite in a field of six sophomores in the one-mile El Cajon Friday evening. The race is the sixth on the twilight program with a 6:30 p.m. PDT scheduled post.
"I was thinking about running him shorter (six-furlong Pirate's Bounty Sept. 5) or at a mile," Baffert said. "This is not an easy spot. It's a pretty tough race."
Fed Biz, who debuted with a fourth-place finish last November at Betfair Hollywood Park, has won his other two starts, both at one mile.
"It's good to have him back; he was one of my top 3-year-olds early in the year," Baffert said.
Others in the field are Real Good Deal stakes winner Unusual Heatwave (5-2, Rafael Bejarano), Jimmy Creed (5-2, Garrett Gomez), Shaun Washington (4-1, Corey Nakatani), Private Zone (10-1, Martin Pedroza), and Tribal Tribute (12-1, Kevin Krigger).