Secret Circle and Castaway, expected to next run in the $500,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park, worked in company for trainer Bob Baffert March 10 at Santa Anita.
Part of Baffert's contingent of Triple Crown hopefuls, the colts each won a division of Oaklawn's Southwest Stakes (gr. II) last month and are listed as probable for the 1 1/16-mile Rebel March 17. They are reportedly scheduled to fly into Hot Springs March 15.
Castaway and Secret Circle were each timed in 1:11 3/5 handily for six furlongs on Santa Anita's fast main track.
Secret Circle, owned by Karl Watson, Mike Pegram, and Paul Weitman, has had two starts this year, finishing second in the Sham Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita prior to his win in the one-mile Southwest Feb. 20. The son of Eddington won all three of his starts as a 2-year-old, including last fall's Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint.
Agent Joe Ferrer reported that jockey Rafael Bejarano has accepted the assignment on Secret Circle in the Rebel. Bejarano has also been the regular rider of Castaway.
Castaway has won both of his starts this season for Baffert, breaking his maiden Jan. 21 at Santa Anita prior to his Southwest triumph. Mike Smith is reportedly to ride the son of 2007 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Street Sense for owners Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith.
In other Rebel news, several horses worked at Oaklawn on a gorgeous morning March 10.
Stephen R. Brown's Jake Mo, runner-up to Castaway in the Southwest, worked five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 with jockey Cliff Berry aboard for trainer Allen Milligan.
“It was super,” said Milligan. “He galloped out pretty strong, and Cliff went to pull him up and then the horse went to bucking and playing some more.”
The son of 2005 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo began the year with a fourth-place finish in the Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 16.
JEOG Racing’s homebred Scatman, runner-up in the second division of the Southwest Stakes, went five furlongs in 1:01 under jockey Luis Quinonez.
“He went good, galloped out good and came back good,” said trainer Michael Lauer. “The hard work is pretty much done. Now we just wait for the draw. That’s the only scary thing left.”
The son of Scat Daddy won an allowance race at Oaklawn Jan. 29.
With Calvin Borel aboard, Cyber Secret put in a bullet five-furlong move in :59 2/5 for trainer Lynn Whiting, who said the highly-rated colt would have another jockey in the Rebel.
Borel is committed to Najjaar for trainer Dan Peitz and Shadwell Stables. Channing Hill had ridden Cyber Secret for owner Charles Cella in his three starts this winter including a fifth-place result in the Southwest Stakes last time out.
“He went very well,” said Whiting shortly after Cyber Secret worked. “I didn’t expect that much from him, but he finished very strong. Considering we are coming back in four weeks, I needed to get a meaningful work into him, and this was the kind of work that should set him up with a week to go."
Cyber Secret had a disastrous seasonal debut in January in what was his first try for Whiting after a private purchase by Cella, Oaklawn’s president. He bounced back strongly Feb. 4 with an optional allowance win by more than five lengths. In the second division of the Southwest, the Kentucky-bred son of Broken Vow was caught wide while stuck between pressing a contested pace or dropping back and making a run.
Shortleaf Stable’s Atigun completed his major preparation for the Rebel with a five-furlong breeze in 1:00 3/5 for trainer Ken McPeek.
Under jockey Terry Thompson, the son of Istan was part of the rush of workers just after the renovation break. The colt has been off since a game win in an optional allowance race Jan. 15, recovering from a quarter-crack that popped days before the Southwest.
“He was getting right over it this morning,” said Thompson after hopping off the colt.
Atigun has earned $69,025 in his six-race career. Earnings in non-restricted races will determine who gets excluded if more than 14 horses enter the Rebel.
“He was moving well and we made sure he galloped out strongly,” said Philip Bauer, McPeek's assistant. “The biggest worry now is just getting into the field.”