Pelirrojo, who was considered an early Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contender last year before suffering a knee injury in his sixth-place finish in the San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) Mar. 2, made his first appearance on the Southern California work tab since then, posting a half-mile in :49, handily, at Santa Anita Friday.
Trainer John Sadler said San Rafael Stakes fifth-place finisher Pelirrojo will miss two to three months of training after coming out of the race with a "hot knee," rendering the 3-year-old son of Flying Continental off the Kentucky Derby trail.
Came Home pressed Werblin through moderate fractions then drew away in the stretch to win the $200,000 San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) by three lengths on Saturday at Santa Anita. Under Chris McCarron, Came Home completed the mile in 1:36.24 on a fast track to notch the victory in his first career attempt at a race run around two turns.
Although Saturday's San Rafael Stakes at Santa Anita has drawn several classy colts, there is a major question whether or not the race will produce any Kentucky Derby contenders. Of the top choices in the one-mile race, only Pelirrojo looks like he wants any part of 1 1/4 miles. The other big names, Came Home, Fonz's, and Werblin, all have either pedigree issues or logistics going against them.
Came Home, who is looking to take the next step up the Kentucky Derby ladder, drilled a sharp half in :46 4/5 at Santa Anita Tuesday in preparation for Saturday's one-mile San Rafael Stakes.
In an optional claiming allowance race with possible Triple Crown ramifications at Santa Anita Wednesday, Pelirrojo closed from last to nip Raven Power by a neck in the one-mile, $54,000 race.
True Monarch, who could turn out to be Bob Baffert's top Kentucky Derby contender, gets a chance to stretch out for the first time on Wednesday when he tackles six other 3-year-olds in a one-mile optional claiming allowance race.
Trainers on both coasts unwrapped some exciting early Christmas presents last week, and all the gifts appear to come with batteries packed with enough charge to last well past next May. This is the time of year when the colts with Derby pedigrees make their appearance, and if you like to see brilliance and a big closing kick to go along with a very low dosage index, then you're going to love Pelirrojo, Charioteer, Axis, and Iwin.
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