Bob Baffert will have three chances to win his eighth Santa Anita Derby on April 8. Baffert said Thursday he plans to start American Anthem, Reach the World and West Coast.
American Anthem misfired March 18 in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park, but will get another shot in the Santa Anita Derby “as long as everything goes well,” Baffert said.
Reach the World finished second in a first-level allowance on March 9 at Santa Anita; West Coast won a maiden race March 12 at Santa Anita.
American Anthem finished second in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes on Jan. 7, and then reportedly did not care for the Oaklawn surface when tenth in the Rebel. American Anthem worked a half-mile in :46.80 on Tuesday.
Reach the World worked five furlongs Thursday morning at Santa Anita, targeting a workmate and rolling away late in :59.80.
West Coast will add blinkers for the Santa Anita Derby. He wore blinkers in his runner-up debut, which earned a 91 Beyer. He took blinkers off for his next start, won the maiden race, but earned a mere 82. Baffert said he liked the colt's first race, with blinkers, more than the race without blinkers.
Riding assignments for the Baffert trio are to be determined. Martin Garcia rode West Coast both starts; Mike Smith rode Reach the World all three starts, and American Anthem in his last two.
A large field is expected for the Santa Anita Derby. The list of probable starters includes Iliad, Gormley, American Anthem, Battle of Midway, Reach the World, Kimbear, Term of Art, Milton Freeweater, So Conflated and West Coast.
I've found it easier to tear up tickets at 8/1 instead of 8/5.