Sarava Drills at 'Anita; Baffert Aims for Big 'Cap

Sarava, who has raced only once in the nearly 19 months since capturing the 2002 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), is being pointed toward a probable start in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), trainer Bob Baffert said.

The Big 'Cap is a 1 ΒΌ-mile main track test for older horses on March 6.

The 4-year-old son of Wild Again worked three furlongs in :36 3/5 in company with stablemate Santa Catarina, who earned the co-bullet for the distance on the day. She stopped the clock in :36 2/5 with regular rider Dana Barnes aboard.

"They're getting ready for a 2004 campaign," Baffert said. "We're pointing Sarava toward the Big 'Cap, but we don't have a start planned out for (Santa Catarina) yet."

New Phoenix Stable and Paul and Susan Roy's Sarava, a 4-year-old son of Wild Again, finished sixth in a 1 1/16-mile allowance event at Del Mar July 26. That was his first start in 14 months, but he suffered a severe case of colic immediately following the race and subsequently underwent surgery to untwist his colon. The nearly black colt spent several weeks fighting for his life before recovering well enough to be put back in training.

Sarava also won the 2002 Sir Barton Stakes in the care of trainer Ken McPeek and has banked $696,852 with a record of three wins and three seconds from 10 starts.

Grade II winner Santa Catarina, a bay daughter of Unbridled and the Storm Cat mare Purrfectly, was given a vacation over the summer after winning the Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. II), finishing second in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and third in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) in early 2003.

She hasn't raced since a fourth-place finish in the American Oaks at Hollywood Park on July 5. The Bob and Beverly Lewis color bearer has won three of 10 races overall for earnings of $645,260 and also earned placings in three other grade I events as a juvenile.

Baffert also sent Paul Weitman's stakes winner Spensive, who hasn't raced since an unplaced finish in a Churchill Downs allowance in May, out for a six-furlong move in 1:13 with jockey Julie Krone aboard. No next start has been picked out for the gray son of Ponche, who has earned $261,381 from two wins in 10 starts, with three seconds and two thirds.

"We couldn't figure out how far he wanted to go," Baffert said. "We're still trying to figure it out."