Colonel John Works for Santa Anita Derby

Colonel John Works for Santa Anita Derby
Photo: Benoit
Colonel John is the likely favorite for the April 5 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I).
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From Santa Anita Park

Sham Stakes winner Colonel John, one of the favorites for the April 5 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) and a major Triple Crown contender, worked six furlongs in 1:10.80 March 31 at Santa Anita Park.

“He worked super,” said trainer Eoin Harty, just back from Dubai, where he saddled Well Armed to a third-place finish behind Horse of the Year Curlin in the March 29 Dubai World Cup (UAE-I). “He went five-eighths in :59 and two or three (fifths of a second), and couldn’t have done it any easier.”

Colonel John, by Tiznow  , is owned by his breeder, WinStar Farm.

Probable starters for the 71st Santa Anita Derby, which will be televised live on NBC from 2 to 3 p.m. PDT, are Coast Guard (jockey Joe Talamo), Colonel John (Corey Nakatani), El Gato Malo (David Flores), Georgie Boy (Kent Desormeaux), Meetingwithdestiny, On the Virg, Polonius (Victor Espinosa), Rosso Corsa (Richard Migliore), Shore Do, Signature Move (Michael Baze), and Yankee Bravo (Alex Solis).

Mike McCarthy, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher, said a rider for On the Virg would not be named until entries are taken April 2. Riders for Meetingwithdestiny and Shore Do also will be named later.

Meetingwithdestiny will be a longshot in the Santa Anita Derby, but Dennis O’Neill said there’s more to the gelding’s March 1 maiden victory than meets the eye.

“He was a first-time gelding last out, and the horse he beat, Screen to Screen, ran well in the WinStar Derby at Sunland Park after that,” said O’Neill, brother and associate of trainer Doug O’Neill. “We believe he’s coming out of a live race at Sunland, and we think a ton of the horse.

“It looks like there’s a lot of speed in the Santa Anita Derby, and we hope to at least pick up some of the pieces.”

Meetingwithdestiny is a Kentucky-bred son of Belong to Meowned by the Bongo Racing Stable partnership headed by Bob Feld of Arcadia, Calif.


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