(from Santa Anita)
The Pamplemousse, Pioneerof the Nile and Chocolate Candy, the three top choices for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on April 4, each worked on the track's Pro-Ride racing surface March 25.
The Santa Anita Derby is the West Coast’s major prep for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) on May 2.
Sham Stakes (gr. III) winner The Pamplemousse, expected to be a slight favorite over Pioneerof the Nile in the 1 1/8-mile event, worked six furlongs under regular rider Alex Solis in 1:13 flat.
Pioneerof the Nile, winner of three straight graded stakes, including the San Felipe (gr. II) on March 14, went six furlongs under former jockey Joey Steiner in a bullet 1:11 2/5, fastest of 12 drills at the distance.
El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) winner Chocolate Candy worked one mile in 1:38 3/5 under Joel Rosario, who rides the son of Candy Ride in the Santa Anita Derby for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
“They gave him 13 flat, but I caught him in 1:12 3/5,” said Miguel Delgado, assistant to Julio Canani, who is in Dubai for the March 28 World Cup. “He galloped out (seven furlongs) in (1:27 3/5).”
Added Solis: “That’s what we wanted. He was five or six wide, and the last sixteenth, he tends to get a little bored. But he won't be bored on the fourth of April. He better have his running shoes on.”
“He went very nice,” Bob Baffert said of Pioneerof the Nile. “He relaxed early and picked it up in the lane. It looks like it didn’t take much out of him. So far, so good.”
Added Steiner: “I kind of wanted to get something in front him, because he likes a little bit of a target, but he went perfect. He was very comfortable. He’s traveling good and showing some class, and that’s all you can ask.”
Chocolate Candy’s drill was an improvement from his last one March 19, when he went a mile at Golden Gate Fields in 1:41 1/5.
“I wasn’t satisfied with the way he did it up there,” Hollendorfer said. “That’s why I wanted to go a mile here, to see if the Golden Gate track was dead that day, which it was. I started him off too fast up there, and went slower today, and Rosario did an excellent job. We went slow the first part, the first eighth in :13.66, and then :25.91, and he finished up really good, so that’s what we were looking for.”
Hollendorfer said if all goes well, Chocolate Candy will blow out a half-mile on March 31.