Trainer Paco Gonzalez hopes to set the stage for his own daily double Saturday at Santa Anita. He'll start by winning the $200,000 San Bernardino Handicap (gr. II) with Bosque Redondo, then two races later cap off his day by taking the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) with probable favorite Came Home.
But first hes got to get past San Bernardino favorite Freedom Crest. The race's distance of 1 1/8 miles will be a factor and Freedom Crest has the best record in races over a mile.
"The question for me is whether he can get the distance," said Gonzalez of Bosque Redondo, a 5-year-old John Toffan and Trudy McCaffery homebred by Mane Minister. "Freedom Crest has beat him at a mile and-a-sixteenth, but that's when (Freedom Crest) was going good, winning all those races last year."
Freedom Crest beat Bosque Redondo in an 1 1/16-mile allowance race by 3/4-length on Dec. 13 at Hollywood Park, then again in the San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II) at the same distance by three lengths on Jan. 7 at Santa Anita.
Bosque Redondo, however, is poised to win his third race in four starts, and won gate-to wire the last time out in the March 9 Tokyo City Cup. He won gamely after being pressed for the entire one mile distance by Reba's Gold.
"My horse is doing very good right now," Gonzalez said. "I was surprised how good he came out of his last race."
Bosque Redondo prepped with a :48.80 half-mile drill Tuesday. His rider will be Chris McCarron, who has been his pilot in nine of 12 starts.
The field from the rail is:
1. Agol Lack, Mike Smith, 113;
2. Bosque Redondo, Chris McCarron, 114;
3. Last Parade, David Flores, 112;
4. Freedom Crest, Kent Desormeaux, 115;
5. Mysterious Cat, Isaias Enriquez, 110,
6. Hook Call, Omar Berrio, 110.