One of Baffert's three challengers, Reach the World works in company at Santa Anita

One of Baffert's three challengers, Reach the World works in company at Santa Anita

Zoe Metz

Baffert Could Send Three to Santa Anita Derby

American Anthem, Reach the World, and West Coast could all start.

With undefeated Mastery  sidelined after an injury following the San Felipe Stakes (G2), Bob Baffert will go to his bench in quest of victory in the $1 million Santa Anita Derby (G1) April 8.

The Hall of Fame trainer, who has won the Santa Anita Derby a record seven times, plans to enter American Anthem, Reach the World, and West Coast in the final local prep for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1).

Baffert's previous winners are Cavonnier (1996), Indian Charlie (1998), General Challenge (1999), Point Given (2001), Pioneerof the Nile  (2009), Midnite Interlude (2011), and Dortmund  (2015).

"Right now, I'm looking at possibly three," Baffert said before he supervised a work by Reach the World March 30. "There are no allowance races to really run them back in, and even though West Coast ran nice but not real fast the other day (when he broke his maiden by 3 1/4 lengths going 1 1/16 miles March 12), if we run him here and he wins—finishes second, or whatever—that doesn't necessarily mean we'd run him back in the (Kentucky) Derby."

Reach the World—who ran second in an optional-claiming allowance to fellow Santa Anita Derby probable Battle of Midway —worked five furlongs in company with American Cleopatra and stopped the clock in :59 4/5 under jockey Martin Garcia. American Cleopatra was clocked in 1:00 3/5.

Trainer Doug O'Neill plans to enter four horses—Iliad, Milton Freewater, So Conflated, and Term of Art—meaning he and Baffert would monopolize the field, likely with more than half the starters. O'Neill won the Santa Anita Derby in 2012 and 2013 with I'll Have Another  and Goldencents .