05/01/2014 12:15PM

Big Bazinga opts for American Turf on Derby undercard

Barbara D. Livingston
Big Bazinga's connections have opted to run the horse in the American Turf Stakes on the Kentucky Derby undercard Saturday at Churchill Downs.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – When it became official Wednesday that Big Bazinga could be no better than an also-eligible for the Kentucky Derby, his connections opted for Plan B, which is Saturday’s Grade 2, $250,000 American Turf Stakes.

Considering Big Bazinga has run significantly better on turf and synthetic surfaces than he has on dirt, this might turn out to be the better move. Big Bazinga, beaten a neck in his only start on turf – a 7 1/2-furlong allowance Feb. 22 at Gulfstream – will take on 10 rivals in the American Turf, carded for 1 1/16 miles on turf.

“I feel his chances are really good in this race,” said Katerina Vassilieva, who didn’t want to run her horse from post 20 had he gotten into the Derby. “One of his best races was on the grass, as well as his best Beyer [85]. I like the way the race sets up for us as well because there’s some speed in the race to run at, which would fit his style.”

The American Turf could run through Glen Hill Farm. That outfit sends out Global View, a $500,000 son of Galileo who won the Grade 3 Generous Stakes at 2 but is winless in two starts this year, including a seventh-place finish in the off-the-turf Transylvania Stakes.

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Glen Hill Farm owned and bred Quotient but sold the gelding by Stormy Atlantic to Hronis Racing and trainer John Sadler. He ran a strong second, beaten a nose, March 22 in the Pasadena Stakes at Santa Anita.

“He ran a big race for us first time. He got a very fast Ragozin number, so I thought I’d take a chance with a bigger race for him back here,” Sadler said. “It was a fast race. He had a little trouble. I think he could have won it.”

Picozza, Woodfield Springs, and Storming Inti – the second-, third-, and fourth-place finishers in the Transylvania – return to the turf in this spot. Storming Inti won the Kitten’s Joy Stakes on turf at Gulfstream, while Picozza was a smart-looking maiden winner on turf, also at Gulfstream.