No. 1 Kentucky Derby contender Lookin At Lucky set to try dirt for first time in Rebel Stakes

By Richard Rosenblatt, AP
Monday, March 1, 2010

Lookin At Lucky lookin’ at dirt for next start

Bob Baffert is looking at a dirt debut for Lookin At Lucky, the 2-year-old champion he hopes will bring him a fourth victory in the Kentucky Derby.

Lookin At Lucky has yet to run on a dirt track, and the Hall of Fame trainer feels the test is needed to familiarize his colt with the surface he’ll be running over on the first Saturday in May.

To that end, Lookin At Lucky likely will make his first start of the year in the Rebel Stakes on March 13 at Oaklawn Park, not at home in the San Felipe on Santa Anita’s synthetic surface.

Baffert said he likes the track in Hot Springs, Ark., espcecially after another of his Derby prospects, Conveyance, won the Southwest Stakes there Feb. 20.

“The Rebel looks like it will be a nice, tough race,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”

Lookin At Lucky, with five wins in six races all on synthetic tracks, remains No. 1 on The Associated Press Run to the Roses’ Top 10 list of Derby contenders.

With the Sham Stakes postponed, there were no significant preps over the weekend.

The Top 10 again is dominated by Baffert and Todd Pletcher. Baffert’s other top prospect is No. 3 Conveyance, while Pletcher has three on the list: No. 2 Eskendereya, No. 4 Rule and No. 5 Discreetly Mine.

One change has Radiohead moving in at No. 10, with Pletcher’s Connemara dropping out. Bred in England, Radiohead was an impressive 3¼-length winner over several Derby hopefuls in his dirt debut — a 1-mile allowance race at Gulfstream Park.

Radiohead was moved to trainer Rick Dutrow after a seventh-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile four months ago. The colt’s next start is undecided.

The rescheduled Sham and the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct are this weekend’s top preps. Tiz Chrome, another of Baffert’s Derby hopefuls, may run in the Gotham on dirt.

Also, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Vale of York is set for his 3-year-old debut Thursday at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai. Owned by Godolphin Racing, Vale of York will run in the 1 3-16-mile Al Bastakiya in a race that could determine whether the colt moves onto the Derby trail.

Lookin At Lucky will have one more race after the Rebel before heading to Churchill Downs for the May 1 Derby. Baffert said the options are the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct or the Santa Anita Derby, both April 3, or the Arkansas Derby a week later.

A few Derby hopefuls competed Saturday, with disqualifications occurring in both the John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park and the Borderland Derby at Sunland Park.

— Codoy finished a length in front in the 1 1-16-mile John Battaglia, but was DQ’d for impeding In the Paint in the stretch. In the Paint was declared the winner, with trainer Dale Romans saying the Lane’s End Stakes on March 27 could be next for his horse.

— Storming Saint was declared the winner of the Borderland Derby after first-place finisher Raise the Bridle was DQ’d for impeding his stablemate in the stretch. Trainer Henry Dominguez said both horses would run next in the Sunland Derby on March 28.

Raise the Bridle is owned by Double Eagle Ranch and Buena Suerte Equine, the New Mexico-based partnership that won last year’s Kentucky Derby with Mine That Bird.

1. Lookin At Lucky (Bob Baffert, trainer; Garrett Gomez, jockey): 3-year-old debut looks like it will be on dirt in Arkansas … winner in 5 of 6 starts in 2009, all on synthetic surfaces … Next start: Rebel (March 13, Oaklawn Park, dirt) or San Felipe (March 13, Santa Anita, synthetic) … Derby future wager odds: 8-1.

2. Eskendereya (Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez): Owned by Ahmed Zayat, who has filed for bankruptcy protection … Fountain of Youth winner is 2 for 2 in 2010 … Next start: Florida Derby (March 20, Gulfstream, dirt) … Odds: 22-1.

3. Conveyance (Baffert, Gomez): Passed dirt test with Southwest win Feb. 20 … Unbeaten gray colt is a son of Indian Charlie, 1998 winner of Santa Anita Derby … Next start: Santa Anita Derby (April 3, Santa Anita) … Odds: 33-1.

4. Rule (Pletcher, Velazquez): Won Sam F. Davis in 3-year-old debut to run win streak to four … Training in South Florida … Next start: Undecided … Odds: 24-1.

5. Discreetly Mine (Pletcher, Javier Castellano): Front-running winner of Risen Star on Feb. 20 … Next start: Louisiana Derby (March 27, Fair Grounds, dirt) … Odds: 3-2 (mutuel field).

6. Jackson Bend (Nick Zito, Jeremy Rose): Training for second race since entering Zito’s barn … Finished second in Fountain of Youth on Feb. 20 … Next start: Florida Derby … Odds: 27-1.

7. D’Funnybone (Rick Dutrow, Edgar Prado): Win in Hutcheson on Feb. 20 put colt on Derby trail … Next start: Undecided … Odds: 3-2 (mutuel field).

8. Dublin (D. Wayne Lukas, Terry Thompson): Worked four furlongs in speedy 48.40 seconds Sunday at Oaklawn … Next start: Rebel … Derby odds: 20-1.

9. Tempted to Tapit (Steve Klesaris, David Cohen): Runner-up in Risen Star on Feb. 20 moved gray gelding into Derby consideration … Next start: Louisiana Derby … Odds: 3-2 (mutuel field).

10. Radiohead (Dutrow, Prado): Won 1-mile allowance at Gulfstream against tough field of Derby hopefuls … Next start: Undecided … Odds: 3-2 (mutuel field).

Keep an eye on: Caracortado, Connemara, Noble’s Promise, Super Saver, Vale of York.

will not be displayed