Smith, who lost the mount on then-Derby favorite Vindication when the undefeated Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner was injured in February, rides Buckland Manor in Sunday's San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) for owners Trudy McCaffery and John Toffan. He has ridden the son of Bien Bien in all four of his previous races.Smith is expected to be riding Azeri for the Apple Blossom (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park on the same day as the Santa Anita Derby. The defending Horse of the Year will be making her 2003 debut in the Apple Blossom.
Trainer Bob Hess Jr. said Kent Desormeaux will ride undefeated El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) winner Ocean Terrace in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on April 5. "I plan to work the horse twice before the Derby," the trainer said, "probably two easy three-quarters."Mike Smith rode the son of Saint Ballado to a 1 1/2-length victory in the El Camino at Golden Gate Fields on Mar. 8. Desormeaux had ridden the colt in his previous two races, but was on Ministers Wildcat in the El Camino.