Bob Baffert, who has won three of the last seven runnings of the San Vicente Stakes (gr. II), will saddle a pair of speedy colts in the $150,000 sprint for 3-year-olds Feb. 15 at Santa Anita.
Baffert will send out Thoroughbred Legends Racing Stable’s Tiny Woods, who won an allowance contest over the Santa Anita Pro-Ride on Dec. 30 to wrap up his 2-year-old season, and Lanni Family Trust and Bernard Schiappa’s Quiet Invader in the seven-furlong San Vicente. A field of seven was entered, including the only stakes winner in the field, Classical Slew, from the barn of Doug O’Neill.
Tiny Woods, a son of Roman Ruler, has gone wire-to-wire in both of his wins—a maiden score at Del Mar last summer in his debut and the six-furlong allowance contest at Santa Anita when he finished up in a time of 1:08.89. Sandwiched in between were a seventh-place effort in the Saratoga Special (gr. II) last August and a third-place showing in the Golden Nugget Stakes over the Golden Gate Fields Tapeta surface in November.
Victor Espinoza will have the mount for the first time on Tiny Woods, who was bred in Florida by Destiny Oaks and is out of the Aggressive Chief mare Brooklynsangel.
Quiet Invader also prefers to be on the front end, as he was when breaking his maiden by two lengths in his second career start at Hollywood Park Dec. 19. Baffert tried to stretch the Songandaprayer colt out to two turns on Jan. 6 in an allowance race at Santa Anita, but he tired to finished fourth after setting the pace in the 1 1/16-mile route. Martin Garcia will be aboard the Maryland-bred once again and they will break from the rail.
“They are both very fast horses and are both training really well right now,” Baffert said. “I think it’s a good spot for both of them.
“I see them as one-turn horses right now. I tried Quiet Invader at two turns and he didn’t pass the test. We’ll see with Tiny Woods; maybe down the road. I expect big efforts from both of them here.”
Baffert has won the San Vicente a record five times, including back-to-back scores with Fusaichi Rock Star and Too Much Bling in 2005 and 2006, respectively. His first win in the race came in 1997 with Silver Charm, who went on to win the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) that year.
Joseph Lacombe Stables’ homebred Classical Slew won the first two starts of his career, including the Willard Proctor Memorial Stakes last summer at 5 1/2 furlongs. The son of Bernstein was also third in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes (gr. III) in July and fifth in the Best Pal (gr. II) the following month. This will be his first start in six months. Rafael Bejarano will ride for O’Neill.
John Sadler, a winner of two of the last three runnings of the San Vicente, will send out Sid and Jenny Craig Trust’s homebred Sidney's Candy, who broke his maiden by four lengths at Del Mar last summer and makes his 3-year-old debut. Sidney’s Candy was beaten seven lengths by Tiny Woods as the 3-5 favorite in his juvenile finale Dec. 30 at Santa Anita after a bad break compromised his chances.
Sadler won the San Vicente in 2007 with Noble Court and again last year with filly Evita Argentina. He has assigned Joe Talamo to ride Sidney’s Candy, a son of Candy Ride.
Also on the docket on President’s Day is the $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap (gr. IIT) for older fillies and mares at one mile on the turf. A field of 12 was drawn, led by 122-pound high weight Tuscan Evening, a three-time graded stakes winner on the grass in California.
An Irish-bred 5-year-old daughter of Oasis Dream, Tuscan Evening bagged the Monrovia Handicap (gr. IIIT) on Jan. 3 on the downhill turf course at Santa Anita in her season debut. Owned by William Deburgh and trained by Jerry Holldendorfer, she also won the Las Palmas Handicap (gr. IIT) and Royal Heroine Mile (gr. IIT) in 2009. Bejarano will have the mount.
The bay mare has won four of six starts over the surface while third in the other pair. Since joining Hollendorfer’s barn in the United States, she has recorded a mark of 7-1-2 in 11 starts after having been winless in Europe.
Tuscan Evening’s competition in the Buena Vista includes Cat by the Tale, recent winner of the grade II San Gorgonio Handicap, and Starlarks, second in the La Brea Stakes (gr. I) and a winner last summer of Del Mar’s San Clemente Handicap (gr. IIT) at one mile on turf. Both were weighted at 118 pounds.
$150,000 San Vicente (gr. II, Race 8, 4:07 p.m.), 3YO, 7 Furlongs (Pro-Ride) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Quiet Invader (MD), M Garcia, 115, B Baffert
2. Gilligan (KY), T Baze, 115, M F Stute
3. Sidney's Candy (KY), J Talamo, 115, J W Sadler
4. Classical Slew (KY), R Bejarano, 115, D F O'Neill
5. Tiny Woods (FL), V Espinoza, 115, B Baffert
6. Raging Wit (KY), K J Desormeaux, 115, W I Mott
7. Runaway Bandido (CA), A Quinonez, 115, R Becerra
$150,000 Buena Vista Handicap (gr. IIT, Race 9, 4:37 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 4 & Up, 1 Mile (Turf) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Cat by the Tale (KY), J Rosario, 118, N D Drysdale
2. Chasin Dreams (KY), V Espinoza, 113, B L Jackson
3. Pretty Unusual (CA), C Sutherland, 116, B Abrams
4. Czechers (KY), L Medina, 114, M Glatt
5. Tuscan Evening (IRE), R Bejarano, 122, J Hollendorfer
6. Dreamalong (KY), T Baze, 114, J C Canani
7. Eissoai (BRZ), M C Baze, 113, H Ascanio
8. Starlarks (IRE), A O Solis, 118, P Gallagher
9. Meydan Princess (IRE), D R Flores, 115, J M Cassidy
10. Damaniyat Girl (KY), M E Smith, 114, E G Harty
11. Applause (IRE), B Blanc, 113, S Callaghan
12. Spring Style (IRE), J Talamo, 114, B D Cecil