Aptitude to Make 2001 Debut in Big 'Cap

From Santa Anita Park
Aptitude, runner-up in last year's Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes will make his first start of the new year in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap March 3, according to trainer Bobby Frankel.
In his most recent drill, Aptitude worked six furlongs in 1:13.20, handily, Feb. 11 at Hollywood.

The 4-year-old A.P. Indy colt has been on the rebound from throat surgery after finishing eighth in the Clark Handicap Nov. 24 at Churchill Downs, which was won by Surfside. Incidentally, San Antonio hero Guided Tour finished second in the Clark that day.

Winless in 10 attempts , Frankel's best Big 'Cap result to date was a second-place finish with 4-year-old Triteamtri in 1989. Aptitude broke his maiden at Santa Anita Jan. 1, 2000, with the Bob Baffert-trained Tibunal finishing second.

Meanwhile, San Antonio hero Guided Tour is still bedding down at his home away from home in Kathy Walsh's barn, increasing speculation that trainer Niall O'Callahan might keep the 5-year-old gelded son of Hansel in Southern California in order to make his next start in the March 3 Big 'Cap.

O'Callahan had reiterated following the San Antonio that the $500,000 New Orleans Handicap March 4 at the Fair Grounds was his goal for Guided Tour this winter. However, it appears that the big money of the Big 'Cap has caused O'Callahan to reconsider.

"I really have no news at this point," said O'Callahan by phone from New Orleans Monday. "We're undecided on what we're going to do with him next."