Updated on 09/17/2011 1:13PM

Baffert wins San Felipe with Preachinatthebar

Email
Horsephotos
Preachinatthebar (inside) holds off the late charge of St Averil by a nose to take the Grade 2, $250,000 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita on Sunday.

ARCADIA, Calif. - For a guy whose Kentucky Derby prospects looked bleak two weeks ago, Bob Baffert sure has turned things around in a hurry. One week after winning the Louisiana Derby with Wimbledon, the three-time Derby-winning trainer struck again Sunday, capturing a roughly run at Santa Anita with Preachinatthebar.

Preachinatthebar ($19.20) just did outlast 6-5 favorite St Averil to win by a nose in the Grade 2, $250,000 race. Harvard Avenue was another 4 1/2 lengths back in third. Action This Day, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner and 5-2 second choice, was seventh in the field of nine.

The race was impacted greatly impacted by Laditude, a 60-1 shot who stumbled so badly at the start that he dislodged jockey Mike Smith, then rushed up between rivals and toward the lead. As he moved around the first turn, Laditude's front legs caught the right hind leg of Action This Day, opening a gash just above the ankle on the back of the leg. Then, down the backstretch, Laditude ranged up outside of pacesetter Odds On, giving apprehension to jockeys behind him who were trying to time their move.

"The loose horse cost me the race," said Tyler Baze, who rode St Averil. "You never know what a loose horse is going to do. You don't know if he's going to duck in, trip over a loose rein. He cost me the race."

Jockey Javier Santiago, who one week ago teamed with Baffert aboard Wimbledon, decided to move early on Preachinatthebar to get away from Laditude. Preachinatthebar was just behind and to the outside of Odds On after fractions of 23.39 seconds for the first quarter-mile and 46.82 seconds for a half-mile, then moved up to engage for the lead after six furlongs in 1:11.10.

Preachinatthebar put away Odds On just before the furlong pole, then was all out to hold off St. Averil. He was timed in 1:42.87 for 1 1/16 miles on the fast main track.

Preachinthebar had won just once in six previous starts, but had finished third most recently in the Sham Stakes. He is a son of Silver Charm, whom Baffert trained to win the 1997 Derby. He was bred and is owned by Mike Pegram, for whom Baffert trained 1998 Derby winner Real Quiet.

Pegram also owned the mare Holy Nola, who is the dam of Preachinatthebar. Both Holy Nola and, in turn, Preachinatthebar are named for Nola Ferraro, who tends the clubhouse bar at Santa Anita and is known to pass along religious asides when she mixes her beverages.