Mike Harrington admits it’s not ideal, but the trainer has decided to run both of his Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) hopefuls this weekend in the $300,000 San Felipe (gr. II) at Santa Anita.
After Creative Cause—the more highly regarded of the two—worked a quick four furlongs in :46 2/5 March 6 at Hollywood Park, Harrington confirmed the plan. He was considering running Creative Cause in the $500,000 Rebel (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park March 17, but decided against it. The other colt he’ll run in the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe is Empire Way. Both colts are owned by Heinz Steinmann.
“I’m going to run them both,” Harrington said. “I started out with a program for (Creative Cause) and along the way the other horse (Empire Way) came along, and I considered keeping them apart. But the timing for both of them kind of dictates that I run them this weekend, and then I’ll go from there.'"
While not ideal to run the stablemates together, Harrington can take comfort in knowing that the two colts have different running styles. Joel Rosario will be aboard Creative Cause, but Harrington hasn’t decided on a jockey yet for Empire Way.
“Creative Cause will lay close and the other horse will come from back. They won’t interfere with each other as far as running styles, it’s just that I need earnings for Empire Way and if the other horse beats him I’m shooting myself in the foot. But you have to do what you have to do sometimes.”
Harrington also admitted that while Creative Cause worked well on the Cushion Track, it was significantly quicker than he had hoped for from the son of Giant's Causeway.
“He worked alone. I was looking for something closer to :48 or :49,” Harrington said. “It didn’t seem to take a whole lot out of him; he did it completely on his own. He just doesn’t usually work that fast by himself. I guess he felt like working today.”
Creative Cause finished third in his last two starts—the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) last fall at Churchill Downs and the Feb. 19 San Vicente (gr. II) in his season debut. He won the Norfolk (gr. I) as a juvenile.
Empire Way finished a closing second in the $200,000 Robert B. Lewis (gr. II) Feb. 4 at Santa Anita in his season debut. That was the first start on dirt for the full brother to champion Royal Delta.