04/08/2012 3:54PM

2012 Kentucky Derby: Liaison may join I'll Have Another, Creative Cause in Louisville

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Benoit & Associates
I'll Have Another (left), who earned a 94 Beyer Speed Figure, heads the race to the wire in the Santa Anita Derby.

ARCADIA, Calif. -  As many as three runners from Saturday’s $750,000 Santa Anita Derby are candidates for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5.

As expected, I’ll Have Another and Creative Cause, the first two finishers who were separated by a nose at the wire, are Kentucky-bound.

Trainer Bob Baffert still has Kentucky Derby hopes for Liaison, who finished sixth, but has sufficient graded stakes earnings to be assured a spot in the field. The Kentucky Derby field is determined by graded stakes earnings, if the race draws more than 20 entrants.

I’ll Have Another entered the Santa Anita Derby outside of the top 20, with $151,000 in graded stakes earnings. He earned $450,000 for the win on Saturday and is guaranteed a spot in the race. He was awarded a 94 Beyer Speed Figure.

Sunday morning, trainer Doug O’Neill said that I’ll Have Another recovered quickly from the Santa Anita Derby, the colt’s third win in five career starts for owners Paul and Zillah Reddam. I’ll Have Another earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 94.

“His legs are ice cold,” O’Neill said. “He jogged 100 percent sound.

That’s a good way to start the day, when you see that.”

O’Neill said I’ll Have Another’s race did nothing to interrupt the colt’s appetite.

“The only thing that would be a concern is if he left any grain,” O’Neill said. “He eats like me.”

I’ll Have Another was ridden by Mario Gutierrez, a 25-year-old native of Mexico. Gutierrez had I’ll Have Another close to the pace throughout and fought through the stretch with Creative Cause to prevail in the race over 1 1/8 miles.

The result of the Santa Anita Derby proved the form of the track’s two major prep races. I’ll Have Another won the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes in a 43-1 upset in February. Creative Cause won the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes in March.

Creative Cause, ridden by Joel Rosario, was as far back as sixth in the first half-mile, saved ground for much of the race, and finished a half-length in front of the third-place finisher, the 42-1 pacesetter Blueskiesnrainbow.

“I think it was probably the best race he’s run,” trainer Mike Harrington said of Creative Cause.  “Joel said if he’d been outside, he could have won,” he said.

Harrington said that he would “probably” start Creative Cause without blinkers in the Kentucky Derby. The colt did not wear them in the Santa Anita Derby, for the first time in his eight-race career.

Creative Cause will stay in California until April 28. The colt will have his last major workout at Harrington’s Hollywood Park base before traveling to Kentucky, and will have a minor workout in the days before the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, the trainer said.

Liaison was always toward the back of the field and finished 9 1/4 lengths behind I’ll Have Another as a 6-1 shot. The winner of the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park last December, Liaison had an unsuccessful winter-spring meeting at Santa Anita.

The colt unseated jockey Rafael Bejarano after clipping heels in the Robert Lewis Stakes and finished fourth in the San Felipe Stakes.

“He came back like he didn’t run,” Baffert said. “He never liked this track. He’s had terrible trips.”

Baffert said that Liaison will ship to Churchill Downs but must train well to start in the Kentucky Derby.

“I’ll take him there and train him,” Baffert said. “I hope to see a real improvement.”

Vic Bullock More than 1 year ago
Pletcher & Baffert get most of the bluebloods, can see both dominating the TC races for next ten years. So Mike Smith takes daddy ns bst for yum brands ? What does he & Steve think, now the winners will come out of NM ? They have another curlin ? please ! lol.........cr cause & I'll have otro look like grinders, but won't get 50-1 giacomo
Terry Marshall More than 1 year ago
I like to get it from the horse's mouth...after one of Baffert's sponsors purchased a 2 million+ 2yo in training at Barretts, he commented about the purchase. He said the colt was a nice horse and Bob (buyer) just needs to win a grade one "to get out on him." That pretty much summed up today's training methodology to me. You just need to win one big one to "get out on the horse" I don't blame Baffert - he didn't create the atmosphere in racing today. The owners decide where a horse will run and who sits on its back. If trainers don't agree, then they have a way to "get out" on the horse too. The classic trainer's line of "Well find another barn for him" may not be sounded by many trainers today, but the business of the sport will dictate who is all business and who is still a sportsman. I really thought that Baffert dragged his rump to SA on Derby day to give his Blueskiesrainbows a little "pep talk", one might say, at 43 to 1. Who knows? I didn't. And even if I did know, I don't hear-tell those kinds of things - the odds might be lower, if ya' git me. But all's fair in love and war and racing to be first is no exception. Tell me, would you not bet a horse if you thought the trainer was a "butcher", especially at double figures on the board? Lead me not into temptation...
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
When "the inmates are running the asylum" somethin just ain't right. These posh "trainers" today have more money than even I could blow. Hit the barn area in the morning and see who's working and who's politicking. If he will lay down for one... well you know the rest. Cheeeeeez this morality we're talkin' here.
Douglas Rutherford More than 1 year ago
TRUST - ME , The Owners pretty much leave everything up to Bob Baffert to tell the Owners where the Horse belongs , the Owners mostly always agree with Bob .
Panama Stallion More than 1 year ago
I can´t believe that Liaison is even being considered to run. Excuse me Mr. Baffert, but if he didn´t like the track it took you three races to find that out? Why didn´t you ship him out to another track and find out if his CashCall win was a fluke? This reeks of desperation in trying to get to the Derby and in the process ruining a good horse´s future for some instant moment of personal gratification. I am rooting for Bodemeister to win in Arkansas and Secret Circle to come in second. That way you will have 2 deserving horses in the Derby and give Liaison the regrouping he deserves. If Bodemeister doesn´t run well enough to get the graded earnings, I predict that Liaison will run in the Derby even if he practices one mile in 3 minutes. THIS is the reason why so many good horses are ruined pretty much before their careers even begin. Now watch Mr. Baffert run Liaison and win the Derby at odds of 50-1 and shut me up! Yeesh
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wouldn't put Baffert in the D Wayne Lukas camp, myself. If Liason trains up a storm in Kentucky, he'll run him. Otherwise, he won't. I appreciate where you are coming from, the desire to run in the Derby has placed many horses at risk over the years, ruined many, no doubt, but I wouldn't put Baffert in that category, necessarilly. However, putting horses into major Derby preps immediately after msw wins has become the norm, I am afraid. And Baffert is certainly guilty of that. And I agree with you, they are putting colts at risk for the hope of hitting the lottery, for all intents and purposes. I would love to see the whole triple crown moved ahead one month. I think it would be beneficial for the horses and for the series itself. Unfortunately, it's very unlikely, due to the greed and lack of central control in the sport.
Rodney Dangerfield More than 1 year ago
Let's not limit it to Bob Baffert, most of these big time trainers are now putting MSW's right after breaking their maiden into stakes races. And they wonder why these young horses get hurt so easily. Very disappointing.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Didyall see that bit on polo ponies??? They don't start on them til whey are 5 or 6 and some are still at it at 16- and- yes I know many of them get their feet pounded apart but that's another story. So, get ready... DO NOT RUN A RACEHORSE UNTIL HE HAS TURNED THREE BY-HIS-BIRTHDATE AND WRITE THE TRIPLE CROWN RACES FOR FOUR YEAR OLDS. now let me dive under my desk!
Vin More than 1 year ago
Secret Circle should not even dream of running in the Derby
Panama Stallion More than 1 year ago
Why not? There are distance questions to Secret Circle, but none of the other horses have run that distance previously either. Secret Circle has been training "Old School" style in the fact that he started out sprinting and little by little, in a very progressive manner (yeah, yeah I know "little by little" and progressive are redundant; just wanted to EMPHASIZE that fact) Mr. Baffert, along with the owner of Secret Circle, have allowed SC to increase the distances he runs. Secret Circle is also a two year old champion who has been running exceptionally well this year, as well. I, for one, would be thrilled if SC won the Kentucky Derby, even though I think that Union Rags, Gemologist and Alpha are superior horses. Not because he is a better horse (he very well may be, who knows) but because of the way that the connections have been bringing him along. They have done a masterful job in letting the horse dictate his growth. If I were to train a horse, that is exactly the way I would do it.
Panama Stallion More than 1 year ago
BTW, Hansen is another one who has been brought along very well. Congrats to the connections of the reigning two year old of 2011
Panama Stallion More than 1 year ago
All the horses mentioned in my post have been allowed to flourish at "their own pace" and I believe that will make for an absolutely thrilling Triple Crown series.
Terry Marshall More than 1 year ago
Any owner can walk into any office and enter any of his horses with a jock's slip from his agent. The trainer can only advise his owners, he can't dictate. What a tough job for a guy like Baffert if the owner insists on going to Kentucky! What's he gonna say to the press? His good sponsor is crazy? I don't think the top trainers get to where they are by themselves.
Stargazer46 More than 1 year ago
I have future bets on Liaison and Secret Circle, and Bodemeister. If your prognostication were to come true and Liaison won at 50-1, I would be a very happy camper. As it is, right now I'd only get $73.......I can live with that.....I trust Bob to do right by his horses, he's not Pletcher. (thinking MO, Quality Road, etc...)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Actually, I thought the horse who beat reveron (my pick in that race, arghh), was visually impressive, the way he came back on again from the inside after getting passed, but then I realize that he was ridden by Bo-rail, who has done that trick too many times to give the horse too much credit. Still, the colt was reaching out well at the finish, and he'll be ridden by borel, which has to be considered a positive in the Derby. I would say that if one could string together 3 distinctive positives for any of the contenders, it could well be good enough to find the winner. They have to be genuine race-specific positives involving the horse-of-interest, however, not just some vague belief. You have to KNOW (not believe) that 1, 2, and 3 are positive factors. If you get there, let me know right here. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Every single major contender has stepped backward so far, except perhaps creative cause, although he has yet to run really fast. A couple months ago I thought we were looking at a good class, but now it doesn't look good at all. If Bodemeister steps forward in Arkansas and runs a 100+ beyer he will become the favorite. Nobody can tell me that he's not baffert's first choice given the connection to his son. Throw in the mile and a quarter hurdle and all of a sudden it's 2005 all over again. Take a horse like liason. He could come alive in Kentucky and be a new hoss by the time the gates open. But where is the quality in this division? It's easy to say that Matz didn't have his hoss cranked up for the Florida Derby, but he's yet to run a fast race. Questions abound. I just don't see the quality jumping off the page. And hey, throw in a muddy track for the first saturday in may and all hells gunna break loose. Check out your mud breeding well in advance so you're prepared. Long live Go For Gin (whose mother was a mudder), the '94 champ ridden by McCarron, who had already won 3 times in the off going before the Derby. Back then the emphasis upon the "last race" was greater than it is today, accounting for his dismissal at 14-1 in spite of his obvious affinity for the goo. His mudder was a mudder I tell ya.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Wuz hiz faather a mudder???
Matt Bernier More than 1 year ago
Can someone explain to me how I'll Have Another got a 94 Beyer winning the SA Derby and Gemologist got a 98 Beyer winning the Wood? I know there are certain things taken into effect other that actually clocking, but how many people really think the Wood was the stronger of the two? Admittedly I've been on the I'll Have Another bandwagon for months, but I still feel like he isn't getting the respect he deserves.
Virgin Queen More than 1 year ago
who cares about respect? his odds at derby time r more important with a 94 beyer he won't b getting all that much love back the truck up if your that high on the horse peace VQ
Roger More than 1 year ago
I've been on that wagon for months also. Just let them keep disrespecting him, it'll mean more money for us when he romps home in front at Churchill Downs.
Rich Carrizzo More than 1 year ago
Figures are for chalk players! Lol!!
Vin More than 1 year ago
A 16,000 claimer ran 6 and 1/2 furlongs in 114.2 at SA Saturday The race after the SA Derby , older 40 claimers ran a mile , around 2 turns , in 134.4. The mile mark in the SA Derby was hit in 135.2 =========================================================== At Aqueduct Grade 1 older horses Jackson Bend and Eclipse award winner Calebs Posse ran 7 furlongs in 122.2. It doesn't take Einstein ti see that the SA course was MUCH MUCH MUCH faster
Kathleen More than 1 year ago
Supposedly, the horses in the Wood were bucking a headwind for a good portion of the run. That made the going tougher, in whomever's opinion, and thus the 98 Beyer.
James More than 1 year ago
The graded stakes earnings list will determine who the most qualified is. CD needs to overhaul.
Nick Gunritz More than 1 year ago
Please if this horse runs over some mote qualified runners tham it's a real joke. Give the horse a break and cut him back to one turn.
Josh More than 1 year ago
Really a 94 Beyer? What a joke.
thomas More than 1 year ago
that what i said 3 seconds faster than wood faster last 1/8 faster last 1/4 and four beyers less come on
Edward Kelly More than 1 year ago
Let these writers pump the fiction. If you look back at any of the Wood winners who went on to be consistent Grade 1 winners in the last 15 years, none of them ran +1:50 8F in the Wood. The two horses that did run 1:50+? Tale of Ekati and Bob and John. This race was slow. Forget the published fractions, no one except MyAdonis even attempted to get near the leader and he was not even winging it. Somehow they managed to hit 6F in 1:12 and change and then proceeded to run even slower the last 3F. Broadway Alibi could have run an extra furlong in 13.75 and still won by 5! She ran 5 lengths faster on the pace than Lumber Guy, closer to 8 or 9 faster than Gemologist/Alpha and she still ran the 2F between 6and8 faster than this sad crew in the Wood.
Vin More than 1 year ago
the track condition , I guess in your eyes has NOTHING to do with the final time???? Calebs Posse ran 7f in 122.2 . There was a stiff wind blowing into the horses faces down the backstretch........Geez
Vin More than 1 year ago
Oh ya , and Broadway Alibi ran ONE TURN. How long have you followed racing , a week?