By Jon White
Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Colonel John is scheduled to return to California next week from Kentucky, trainer Eoin Harty said May 16 at Santa Anita.
“He’s at Keeneland right now,” Harty said. “We’ll ship him back to California next week and get him ready for the Swaps Stakes (gr. II).”
The Swaps Stakes, a 1 1/8-mile race, will be renewed July 12 at Hollywood Park. According to Harty, the plan is for Colonel John not to run in Hollywood Park’s Affirmed Handicap (gr. III) at 1 1/16 miles June 15.
“He’s easy to train up to a race,” Harty noted. The trainer added that he is not inclined to run Colonel John in a race shorter than 1 1/8 miles after the colt finished sixth as the 9-2 second favorite in the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) at 1 1/4 miles.
“He had a troubled trip in the Derby,” Harty said, shaking his head. “He never really had a chance. But we’ll get him ready and run him in the Swaps and then go for the Travers Stakes (gr. I).”
The Travers is slated for Aug. 23 at Saratoga.
Owned and bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm LLC, Colonel John has won four of seven lifetime starts. In addition to taking this year’s Santa Anita Derby April 5, the son of Tiznow —Sweet Damsel, by Turkoman, won Santa Anita’s Sham Stakes (gr. III) March 1.