03/13/2006 12:00AM

Baffert four deep for San Felipe

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Bob and John is the most accomplished of four colts that trainer Bob Baffert is considering for the San Felipe.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Brother Derek, the nation's leading prospect for the Kentucky Derby, already has had his final prep for next month's Santa Anita Derby. His list of challengers should become more defined after this Saturday, when a field headed by Sham Stakes winner Bob and John competes in the Grade 2, $250,000 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita.

Bob and John is one of four colts whom trainer Bob Baffert is considering running in the San Felipe. Point Determined, a recent allowance winner at Golden Gate Fields, also is definite. Point of Impact is probable, and Sky Diving is possible.

Baffert said he was reluctant to ship his 3-year-olds in March for stakes races.

"I want to wait one more race, then ship," he said.

That, combined with the difficulty in getting allowance races to go locally, has resulted in Baffert having so many candidates for the San Felipe.

Bob and John has won two straight races, including the Sham, since finishing third behind Brother Derek in the Hollywood Futurity. He will be ridden by Victor Espinoza.

Point Determined has won twice in four starts. The San Felipe will be his stakes debut. David Flores has the mount.

Both Point of Impact and Sky Diving only have maiden wins to their credit, so they are eligible for a first-level allowance condition. Garrett Gomez is scheduled to ride Point of Impact. Baffert said he had yet to decide on a rider for Sky Diving.

Others pointing for the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe are A.P. Warrior (Corey Nakatani the rider), New Joysey Jeff (Alex Solis), Racketeer (Patrick Valenzuela), Refinery (Tyler Baze), and Simon Pure (Jon Court).

Desormeaux taking agent to N.Y.

As he had promised last month, jockey Kent Desormeaux is leaving Southern California to ride in New York full time at the end of this month. But he will be taking along his new agent, Jim Pegram, rather than pick up New York-based Steve Adika, whom Desormeaux previously had said would work for him when he went to New York.

Pegram became available when he was fired by Gomez a month ago. He landed Desormeaux, who parted ways with agent Tommy Ball.

Pegram is the eighth agent to represent Desormeaux in the past 9 1/2 years. Desormeaux came to California from Maryland in 1990 with Gene Short, and they were together until the summer of 1996. Since then, however, Desormeaux has had a slew of agents come and go - Ron Anderson, Brian Beach, Tony Matos, Tom Knust, Brad Pegram, Harry Hacek, and Ball.

Jim Pegram is the father of Brad Pegram and the brother of Mike Pegram, for whom Desormeaux won his first Kentucky Derby in 1998 with Real Quiet. Jim Pegram has been based in Southern California for years. With Jerry Bailey having retired, and Anderson, his agent, having come to California to represent Gomez, Jim Pegram said he and Desormeaux believe there is opportunity in New York.

"Bailey retiring has opened up some avenues," Jim Pegram said. "We're leaving here on March 29, and Kent will ride there through Thanksgiving."

Desormeaux will be at Aqueduct on Saturday to ride Sweetnorthernsaint in the Grade 3, $200,000 Gotham Stakes.

Pegram said Desormeaux's wife, Sonia, and their two sons will come to New York when the current school year ends.

Sam's Ace may go on the road

Sam's Ace, who won for the third time in four starts when he captured a first-level allowance race for California-breds on Saturday, may get a chance to go against some of the best 3-year-olds in the land in his next start, in either the Grade 2, $500,000 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne or the Grade 1, $750,000 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, both of which are April 8, trainer Doug O'Neill said.

Sam's Ace has had three trainers in his short career. He won his debut for trainer Jack Carava, but was claimed out of that race by trainer Paddy Gallagher. After a victory and a second-place finish for Gallagher, owner Paul Reddam purchased a 55 percent interest in the colt, a son of In Excess, and turned him over to O'Neill. Saturday's race was his first start for O'Neill.

"Paul paid a pretty good chunk for his 55 percent," O'Neill said. "We're looking at the Illinois Derby and the Wood because we think he could be that kind of horse. While the sale was going through, he didn't go to the track for a few days, and he had a nuclear scan. We put him through a lot. For us to run, it was pretty ambitious. He showed how much guts and determination he has."

O'Neill said he and his brother Dennis were attracted to Sam's Ace as a prospective purchase because "we loved that he was a Cal-bred, he's a tall, good-looking horse, and we love In Excess."

"All his races were impressive," O'Neill said. "Even when he got in trouble, he ran well despite not having a clean trip."

Guidry accepts Woolf Award

Mark Guidry became the 57th recipient of the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award between races on Sunday. The ceremonies, held in the winner's circle, included several past winners of the Woolf Award, most notably Braulio Baeza, who was making one of his first public appearances since his controversial dismissal by the New York Racing Association last year from his position as assistant clerk of scales.

Other retired riders who flanked Guidry during the ceremonies were Walter Blum, Eddie Delahoussaye, Don Pierce, Laffit Pincay Jr., and Gary Stevens.

"Can you believe it, a poor boy from Louisiana won the Woolf Award," Guidry said when he accepted the trophy. "This is absolutely the greatest achievement I could ever dream of."

Guidry, 46, has won more than 4,700 races. He won last year's Santa Anita Derby with Buzzards Bay.

Winning on a budget

Trainer Carla Gaines was working on a budget at last fall's horses of racing age sale at Newmarket, but found a nugget for owner Warren Williamson in Foxysox, who won Saturday's China Doll Stakes on the turf for 3-year-old turf fillies.

"We stumbled across her," Gaines said of the daughter of Foxhound. "She looked like she would adapt to American racing. She had good bone, good feet. Her pedigree said she could go a mile, and she hadn't been beyond six furlongs. We thought if we could get her for $70,000 or $80,000 U.S., we should get her."

She did. And in her two races in this country, both wins, Foxysox already has earned back her purchase price, while significantly increasing her residual value as a broodmare prospect.

"You're looking for horses who can acclimate," Gaines said. "You don't want horses who are crooked, or soft-boned, or have shelly feet."

Owners' group to hold vet seminar

The Thoroughbred Owners of California are sponsoring a seminar focusing on communication between owners and veterinarians at 5 p.m. Saturday at the California Thoroughbred Breeders' Association library, across the street from Santa Anita at 201 Colorado Place. Speakers include Dr. Greg Ferraro of the University of California-Davis and Dr. Jeff Blea, who has a practice on the racetrack.

Seating is limited, and reservations are required. For more information, call (626) 574-6622.