Track Reports

Santa Anita Stable Notes: Baffert ‘Happy’ With More Spirit, Songbird ‘Impressive’ Work

©Zoe Metz/Clockers' Corner

Working in company with stablemate Hoffenheim, Mor Spirit had his mind on business Sunday morning, breezing five furlongs in 59.80 under Martin Garcia for the Grade II San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on March 12.

The son of Eskendereya never completed a scheduled workout under regular rider Gary Stevens last Tuesday when he “lost interest,” but was back on the beam Sunday.

“He went well,” Bob Baffert said of his leading Triple Crown contender. “He’s tough to work. He’s a very laid back horse, which is good. He shows us more in the afternoon, which is what you want.

“We’re going work by work (for the San Felipe). We’ll play it by ear. Gary will ride him if we run. The horse seemed to be more aggressive today. Last time, he lost focus. He worked well today and galloped out strong.

“That’s him. He’ll show you more in the afternoon. There’s not a whole lot we need to do with him. He’s pretty fit. I’m really happy with him.”

Hoffenheim was clocked in 1:01.20.

The San Felipe is shaping up as the most competitive steppingstone to the $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 9, with Danzing Candy, Exaggerator, unbeaten Smokey Image and Uncle Lino also scheduled to run.

Undefeated champion Songbird had an impressive four furlong workout Sunday under regular rider Mike Smith for next Saturday’s Grade III Santa Ysabel Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.

The daughter of Medaglia d’Oro trained by Jerry Hollendorfer for Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farm was timed in 48 seconds flat, breezing.

“It was just a little blowout, a nice work in decent time,” Hollendorfer said after the 7:45 a.m. drill over Santa Anita’s fast main track on a picturesque morning. “There are a progression of races that you run in to get to the (Kentucky) Oaks (on May 6).

“You have the first one (Las Virgenes Stakes Feb. 6), then this one, then the Santa Anita Oaks (April 9). If you’re lucky enough after that, you can try a bigger race, although these are plenty big enough for us right now.”

Songbird is scheduled to walk the shed row tomorrow, then jog and gallop into the race.

The Hall of Fame trainer also has Kiss N Scat and Surfside Tiara nominated to the Santa Ysabel, but said he would consider entering one or both “if it comes up a real short field.”

Smith, meanwhile, was succinctly effusive in his praise of the work.

“Every breeze is different,” he said. “A horse wakes up in a different mood, but right now, she’s absolutely just loving what she does. That was probably one of the best half miles I’ve ever gone, about as easy and as smooth as you could possibly go; very impressive.”

FINISH LINES: FINISH LINES: Perennial Southern California riding king Rafael Bejarano has a 39-36 lead over runner-up Santiago Gonzalez in Santa Anita’s standings through 38 racing days, but Phil D’Amato and Doug O’Neill are in a flat-footed tie for the training lead with 20 wins each. Bejarano has ridden 180 horses, Gonzalez 193. Flavien Prat, third behind Bejarano with 32 victories, leads in purse earnings with $1,834,716. Bob Baffert, third behind D’Amato and O’Neill in wins with 16, leads in purse earnings with $1,210,385 . . . Follow Me Crev, working on a four-race winning streak but out of the Santa Anita Handicap picture with a quarter crack, could be back on the track soon. “We’ll get new shoes on him this week,” trainer Vladimir Cerin said . . . Donworth, third behind Hoppertunity and Imperative in the San Antonio Stakes Feb. 6, worked six furlongs Saturday in 1:14.40 for the Big Cap. “He came out of it great,” O’Neill said. “We’re excited about the race.” . . . San Marcos winner Flamboyant, headed for the $6 million Dubai Turf at 1 1/8 miles on March 26, worked six furlongs on the main track under Brice Blanc for Paddy Gallagher in 1:14.40 . . . Santa Monica winner Lost Bus, ticketed for the $100,000 Irish O’Brien Stakes at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf March 19, worked four furlongs under Fernando Perez for Gary Sherlock in 48.20 . . . Jockey Iggy Puglisi escaped serious injury when unseated from Thisonesforyou shortly after the start of yesterday’s fourth race. “I’d like to thank everyone for checking in on me and making sure I was all right,’ Puglisi posted to his Twitter account Saturday at 7 p.m. “They just released me & nothing too serious just a bit sore Thank You.” . . . Santa Anita, in association with the National Chili Society and Fire It Up Events, is proud to donate over $2,000 to the Wounded Warriors Project. Thanks to all the participants in the 2016 Santa Anita Chili Cook Off.

Source: Santa Anita Park

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