If you're tired of the same old cast of characters that have been playing the major roles so far, you're going to love next weekend's mixed bag of stakes races. After Saturday, many questions will be answered, and don't be surprised to see some new, exciting faces take center stage on the Triple Crown trail.
Trainer Bob Baffert said Sunday that he could enter as many as four horses in the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) Saturday at Santa Anita.
Triple Crown contenders Bluegrass Cat and Private Vow were among several 3-year-olds working at Palm Meadows and Gulfstream Park Sunday morning.
What could have been a revealing weekend at Gulfstream Park was instead a muddy mess that left us with just as many questions as we had going in. We also had to try and digest some huge performances by former claimers in lesser races and several defeats that may have outshone the victories.
There was never much doubt in Saturday's $102,500 Sham Stakes (gr. III) as the Bob Baffert-trained Bob and John finally got his first stake victory with little suspense at Santa Anita Park.
Bob and John, trainer Bob Baffert's most accomplished Triple Crown prospect, returned to the winner's circle Friday with a three-length victory in a $52,800 allowance event at Santa Anita while traveling 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.81.
The journey on the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) Trail officially began last weekend, and although none of the major stars were in action, there were enough solid performances – both gutsy and explosive -- to start the year off in a positive way.
Cecil N. Peacock's Brother Derek, coming off a fourth-place finish in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), showed he's the best West Coast-based 2-year-old not named Stevie Wonderboy with a comfortable win over favored Your Tent Or Mine in the $407,250 Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) Saturday.
Your Tent Or Mine will be tested by seven other 2-year-old colts Saturday in Hollywood Park's $401,250 Hollywood Futurity (gr. I), a 1 1/16-mile event that has produced six Kentucky Derby (gr. I) champions.
Brother Derek and Bob and John, a pair of leading candidates for Saturday's Grade I Hollywood Futurity, each worked five furlongs at Santa Anita on Sunday.
Bob and John's apparent six-length victory as the 1-5 favorite in Saturday's $100,000 Real Quiet Stakes for 2-year-olds was overturned by Hollywood Park stewards, who gave the victory to Genre, ridden by Martin Pedroza.
Del Mar Futurity (gr. II) winner Stevie Wonderboy passed Sunday's Norfolk Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita, leaving a wide open field in the 1 1/16-mile event for 2-year-olds.
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