Bob Baffert, who won the 1998 San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II) with Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm, has 30% of the10-horse field set to go in the $200,000 middle leg of the prestigious Strub Series at Santa Anita Park Saturday.Baffert has entered Swaps Stakes (gr. II) winner During; Jefferson Cup winner Senor Swinger; and Spensive in the 1 1/16-mile San Fernando, which is exclusively for 4-year-olds on the main track.The first leg of the Strub series was won by Southern Image on opening day. But the Florida-bred son of Halo's Image will sit this one out and opt for either the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic on Jan. 24 or the Strub Stakes (gr. II) on Feb. 7, according to trainer Mike Machowsky.Excessivepleasure, who holds the distinction of winning three derbies last year – the Indiana Derby, the Iowa Derby and the WinStar Derby – should draw solid support in what appears to be a wide-open San Fernando. The California-bred son of In Excess has a 5-4-0 record from 11 starts, with earnings of $921,382 under the guidance of trainer Doug O'Neill.Domestic Dispute hasn't won since capturing the Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) almost a year ago. He has lost six straight races, including the Malibu Stakes (gr. I) on Dec. 26.
His sixth-place effort was somewhat misleading, however, according to Gallagher, who is optimistic that the son of Unbridled's Song will improve in the San Fernando .
"He had a little bit of trouble around the turn," Gallagher said of Domestic Dispute's Malibu performance. "I thought he'd run good going seven-eighths. I always liked the way he trained (for the Malibu). Alex (jockey Alex Solis) thought he'd have been closer if he hadn't checked around the turn."Domestic Dispute has a 2-2-2 record from 14 starts, with earnings of $289,687.Saturday's supporting feature is the $150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap (gr. II) for older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf. Megahertz, second to Tates Creek in last year's San Gorgonio, looms a heavy favorite this year for Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, who has won the race six times.Only four were entered against Megahertz in the San Gorgonio.
$200,000 San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II), 4-year-olds, 1 1/16 mile
Horse, Jockey, Weight
1. Excessivepleasure, Jon Court, 122
2. Watchem Smokey, Kent Desormeaux, 118
3. During, David Flores, 120
4. Ender's Shadow, Mike Smith; 116
5. Senor Swinger, Emile Ramsammy, 120
6. Domestic Dispute, Alex Solis, 116
7. Touch The Wire, Corey Nakatani, 116
8. Anziyan Royalty, Jose Valdivia Jr., 116
9. Toccet, Victor Espinoza, 116
10. Spensive, Gary Stevens, 116$150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap (gr. IIT), fillies & mares 4 & up, 1 1/8 mile on turf
1. Mer de Corail, Mike Smith, 115
2. Tropical Blossom, Emile Ramsammy, 112
3. Megahertz, Alex Solis, 119
4. Firth of Lorne, David Flores, 114
5. Garden In The Rain, Stevens, 114