02/02/2010 12:00AM

Gabby's Golden Gal targets Humana Distaff


Baffert won the Grade 1 Santa Monica Handicap for female sprinters on Sunday with Gabby's Golden Gal, whose long-term goal is the Grade 1 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs on May 1.

"We want to win as many Grade 1's as possible," Baffert said.

Owned by Arnold Zetcher, Gabby's Golden Gal, 4, has won two Grade 1 races in her career, including the Acorn Stakes against 3-year-olds fillies at a mile at Belmont Park last summer.

Gabby's Golden Gal was seventh in the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes over seven furlongs against 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita in December. Baffert said he overestimated her fitness.

"I thought she was tighter than that and she wasn't," he said.

Gabby's Golden Gal had no such problems in the Santa Monica, stalking the pace under jockey Martin Garcia before taking the lead in the stretch.

Giganticus ambitiously spotted for U.S. debut

When Giganticus makes his 31st career start in Sunday's $150,000 San Antonio Handicap over 1 1/8 miles, the 7-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding will be starting for the first time in the United States, making his graded stakes debut, and will be English trainer Simon Callaghan's first stakes runner in this country.

Callaghan, who has brought a small stable from England to Santa Anita this winter, is starting Giganticus for the first time. By Giant's Causeway, Giganticus was previously trained by Barry Hills.

The San Antonio will be Giganticus's first start since an eighth-place finish in a 17-runner handicap at Newmarket in October, and his first start on a synthetic track since a fifth in a seven-furlong handicap at Lingfield last March.

Callaghan, 26, acknowledges that Giganticus will be tested in the San Antonio.

"He can get a bit lazy in the mornings, but he's better on the track [in races]," he said. "He seems in good form. On his day, he's up to that standard. We'll go in as an outsider, but entitled to be there."

In England, Giganticus ran in several races known as heritage handicaps, which are a cut below a graded stakes and often draw huge fields of 20 to 30 horses. Understandably, the races can be very competitive and produce horses capable of racing in graded stakes in this country.

In the Grade 2 San Antonio, Giganticus will be part of a field expected to include Dakota Phone, Furthest Land, Marsh Side, Mast Track, Nownownow, Philatelist, Pick Six, and Richard's Kid, the winner of the $1 million Pacific Classic last August.