Phoenix Thoroughbreds' undefeated 3-year-old filly Dream Tree has been taken off the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) trail, trainer Bob Baffert said March 16.
Baffert said he didn't like the way the Uncle Mo filly came out of her last work March 7 at Santa Anita Park and indicated she could get 45-60 days off, with the target of top-level summer starts. The trainer did not disclose the specific reason for her time off.
"I just wasn't happy with the way she came out of the work. I'm just backing off for a little while," Baffert said of the winner of the Starlet Stakes (G1) and Las Virgenes Stakes (G2). "It's a small issue—very minor—and I'm not going to run her in the Kentucky Oaks. ... She'll be fine. We'll shoot for stuff like the Acorn (G1) and the Test (G1) in the summer."
Baffert also laid out his future plans, "if all goes well," for his contingent of 3-year-old males on the Triple Crown trail.
As of Friday, the plan is for Karl Watson, Mike Pegram, and Paul Weitman's grade 1 winner McKinzie to start in the April 7 Santa Anita Derby (G1) and to send China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners, Starlight Racing and WinStar Farm's undefeated Justify to the April 14 Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park. Under consideration for the March 25 Sunland Derby (G3) is Gary and Mary West's last-out maiden winner Restoring Hope and Hal and Patti Earnhardt's Ax Man, if he doesn't run in the March 17 Pasadena Stakes (he's a main-track-only entry). Solomini will run in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn March 17, but Baffert said he is expected to get another prep before a potential start in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1).
Other news from Santa Anita:
- Notable Baffert workouts at Santa Anita Friday came from champion filly Abel Tasman, who covered six furlongs in 1:13 2/5, and grade 2 winner Faypien, who ran the same distance in 1:13 1/5.
- Trainer Richard Mandella worked multiple grade 1 winner Paradise Woods outside of normal training hours at Santa Anita, and the Union Rags filly breezed six furlongs in 1:12.56 under jockey Flavien Prat in preparation for the seven-furlong Santa Monica Stakes (G2) March 24. Last year's Santa Anita Oaks (G1) and Zenyatta (G1) winner had her 4-year-old debut delayed this year by an illness that made the rounds at Santa Anita. "I asked them to do it, so I could get her on the best possible track," the Hall of Fame trainer said of the Santa Anita main track that has taken some rain in recent days. "She hasn't run in a while, so it didn't hurt to stir her up a little bit."