Baffert Pair Stands Out in WinStar Derby

The Bob Baffert-trained duo of Wanna Runner and Sky Diving, both disappointing in their most recent starts, lead a field of nine 3-year-olds entered for Saturday's $600,000 WinStar Derby at New Mexico's Sunland Park.

Mike Pegram's Wanna Runner, scratched from the Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) earlier this month, has not raced since finishing fifth behind Cause to Believe in the six-horse El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) at 1 1/16 miles at Bay Meadows Jan. 29. The Canadian-bred son of El Corredor   raced three or four wide that day and wilted in the stretch under David Flores while not wearing blinkers for the first time in his six-race career.

Wanna Runner gets blinkers back for Saturday's 1 1/8-mile test and will be reunited with regular rider Victor Espinoza, who has been aboard for both of the colt's wins. They finished third behind early Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) favorite Brother Derek in the one-mile San Rafael (gr. II) at Santa Anita prior to the El Camino Real.

B. Wayne Hughes' Sky Diving finished ninth in the San Felipe (gr. II) at Santa Anita March 18 and comes back two weeks later for Baffert. Julio Garcia rides. The son of Aptitude broke his maiden by 14 lengths at Bay Meadows Jan. 25, then just missed to WinStar Derby rival Keagan - losing by one length - in the Turf Paradise Derby less than three weeks later.

Scott Stevens rides the Washington-bred Keagan.

Aventura Stakes winner Doctor Decherd bombed as the 13-10 choice in the WinStar's main prep race at Sunland Park, the Feb. 26 Borderland Derby, finishing eighth while beaten by more than 22 lengths. Trainer Steve Asmussen has kept the Mike McCarty-owned son of Louis Quatorze stabled at Sunland since that effort.

Wait in Line came within a head of springing a 17-1 upset while finishing second in the Borderland, which was won by the maiden Indy Wildcat. Ken Tohill takes over for Michael Baze on Wait in Line.

$600 WinStar Derby (Race 7, 3:45 p.m.), 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles
PP. Horse, Jockey
1. Sky Diving (KY), Julio Garcia
2. a-Wait in Line (FL), 122, Ken Tohill
3. Keagan (WA), Scott Stevens
4. Doctor Decherd (KY), Shaun Bridgmohan
5. Wanna Runner (ON), Victor Espinoza
6. Welfare Cadillac (FL), Ricky Frazier
7. Blaze It (CA), David Cohen
8. Might Be Hooked (KY), Miguel Perez
9. a-Belligerence (FL), Quyet Bui
Each assigned 122 pounds.
(a) Joey K. Davis-owned entry.

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