Atswhatimtalknbout Earns San Felipe Date
Photo: Benoit
Allowance win Thursday earned Atswhatimtalknbout a ticket to the San Felipe.
B. Wayne Hughes' Atswhatimtalknbout, a well-bred 3-year-old son of A.P. Indy who has shown rapid development in his brief career, earned a shot in stakes company for the first time with his convincing allowance win at Santa Anita Thursday, trainer Ron Ellis said.

Ellis said Atswhatimtalknbout would start in the Mar. 16 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II).

"I think we'll try the San Felipe with him," Ellis said. "The timing works out perfectly for us and I think he's earned it. Today's final time was pretty impressive and even though it's going to be a step up for him for sure, I think he can handle it."

Atswhatimtalknbout sat well off the early pace set by rival Buckland Manor in the thursday's second race, made a bid for the lead on the far turn and took over at the top of the stretch. He battled the Bob Baffert-trained During through the lane to win by three-quarters of a length. Buckland Manor finished third in the non-winners "other than" allowance test for 3-year-olds. The final time for the 1 1/16-mile event over a main track labeled fast was 1:41.89.

Atswhatimtalknbout, a $900,000 Fasig-Tipton 2-year-old in training purchase a year ago, was almost a Derby prospect for someone else, according to bloodstock agent Bob Feld.

"(Hughes) is very meticulous when it comes to buying horses," Feld explained. "He goes over the catalog carefully, looks at all the horses he's interested in, makes all kinds of notes and makes sure the horses vet out OK. He's really a hands-on buyer. But for this horse, somehow we all missed him.

"But that morning (Ellis) and I looked at him again and kept asking ourselves, "how can a horse so big be so fast?' So we called the vet, got it all worked out and when Atswhatimtalknbout came in the ring, we told Wayne to bid on him. Wayne didn't really know what horse he was bidding on, but he kept on going until he bought him. I think he even overbid the Japanese.

"And the horse got his name at dinner that night. We just kept saying, 'atswhatimtalknbout' when we were talking about him and it stuck."

Atswhatimtalknbout picked up $33,600 for his second career win, bringing his bankroll to $69,120. Overall his career line now stands at 3-2-0-1.

"He really fought it out today," Ellis said. "He didn't get all the best of it, having to go wide and then I think he was waiting a little in the stretch. But it was a good effort and I can't be more pleased."

Atswhatimtalknbout is Hughes' first potential Derby horse, though the owner remains cautious about getting too excited too soon.

"I'm just enjoying all this," Hughes said. "He's a nice horse and Ron is doing an exceptional job with him so how can I not?"

(Chart, Equibase)

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