03/04/2011 2:20PM

Baffert fears Santana Mile may be too short for Misremembered


ARCADIA, Calif. – At 5, Misremembered is a different horse this year than he was last year when he won the Santa Anita Handicap, jockey Martin Garcia says.

Garcia rode Misremembered in the 2010 Santa Anita Handicap, and has worked the horse regularly in recent weeks. Garcia insists that Misremembered is a more mature horse this season, and easier to work with in the mornings.

“He’s been improving a lot since he had time off,” Garcia said. “He’s a different horse. He’s more mature and knows what he’s doing. Before he was training like a baby, but now I like him a lot.”

The first chance to test Garcia’s opinion will be Sunday’s $75,000 Santana Mile at Santa Anita, which will be Misremembered’s first start in exactly a year. He battled injuries last spring and again in late summer that postponed his return.

Trained by Bob Baffert for his wife Jill and George Jacobs, Misremembered has won 5 of 11 starts and $1,188,589. In most of his starts in 2009 and early 2010, Misremembered raced near the front throughout, and Bob Baffert expects the same on Sunday.

“He’ll be up close and I’ll let [Martin] place him where he wants,” Baffert said.

In recent weeks, Misremembered has worked quickly at Hollywood Park and Santa Anita, including six furlongs in 1:12.60 here last Monday. “He went off easy and finished up pretty strongly,” Baffert said.

Baffert is concerned about the one-mile distance since Misremembered is proven at distances up to 1 1/4 miles.

“It’s a little short,” Baffert said.

The trainer also starts Red Door Drive, who was second in an optional claimer on Jan. 27, and Indian Firewater, who won the Grade 2 San Fernando Stakes over 1 1/16 miles here on Jan. 15. Indian Firewater was fourth in the Grade 2 Strub Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on Feb. 5, a loss that ended any plans of a start in the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap on Saturday.

Indian Firewater tends to set the pace, which could hurt his chances since the race also features the allowance race winner Arcodoro, who has the same style. Arcodoro drew the outside in a field of nine, six of whom are stakes winners.

Kensei, the winner of two Grade 2 stakes in 2009, makes his first start since November. Acclamation, the winner of the Grade 1 Charles Whittingham Handicap last June, drew the rail, but was also entered in Saturday’s Kilroe Mile on turf.

Matto Mondo makes his first start on the main track since a third in the 2009 Santa Anita Handicap. In one subsequent start, he was fifth in an allowance race on turf last month.