03/31/2010 12:00AM

Lookin At Lucky to face nine in prep

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Jeff Coady/Coady Photography
Lookin At Lucky won the Rebel last out, and trainer Bob Baffert said the Santa Anita Derby is "not a do-or-die race for me."

ARCADIA, Calif. - Lookin At Lucky is no worse than the co-favorite for the Kentucky Derby and is an odds-on favorite on the morning line for Saturday's Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, but his presence failed to scare off many challengers when entries were taken Wednesday morning, owing largely to the fact that this race is not of paramount importance for Lookin At Lucky.

"I just want him to come out of the race healthy and alive," his trainer, Bob Baffert, said Wednesday morning at Santa Anita. "It's not a do-or-die race for me. If I can keep him fit and healthy, he can carry me the rest of the way."

All Lookin At Lucky needs is a good race over the track, nothing more. For several others in the race, a top performance is critical if they are to get to the Kentucky Derby. So, a field of 10 3-year-olds was entered in the West Coast's final major prep for the May 1 Kentucky Derby. They will go 1 1/8 miles on Pro-Ride for a $750,000 purse.

Lookin At Lucky drew post 7 in the field of 10 and was installed as the 4-5 favorite on the morning line set by Jon White of Santa Anita. Sidney's Candy, winner of the San Felipe in his last start, is the second choice at 3-1, with once-beaten Caracortado at 5-1 and Alphie's Bet, the Sham Stakes winner, at 8-1. The other six runners are 15-1 or higher - with two listed at 50-1 - on White's line.

Lookin At Lucky is remaining here for his final Derby prep after winning the Rebel at Oaklawn Park in his only previous start this year. For Baffert, the Rebel proved conclusively that Lookin At Lucky can perform well on dirt, so he did not feel the urgency to send him back to Oaklawn for next week's Arkansas Derby. Plus, by running here, Lookin At Lucky will have four weeks, not three, until Derby Day and just have to ship once, not twice.

Baffert said he thought the Rebel was "one of his better races."

"He showed a lot of determination," Baffert said. "He showed a lot of grit. When he won the Rebel, I knew where I stood with him. I want to get through this and go to Kentucky."

Sidney's Candy drew well, landing post 4. Caracortado is just inside of Lookin At Lucky, in post 6. Alphie's Bet, however, landed the outside post in the field of 10, just as he did in the Sham.

"That's what he had last time," said Alexis Barba, trainer of Alphie's Bet. "If he gets the same kind of trip with the same kind of result, that would be wonderful."

Who's Up, who won the Generous Stakes on turf at Hollywood Park last fall, is making his first start since then. He is now trained by Mike Puhich, who had the colt at a training center in Washington this winter. Puhich now trains for Mickey Gonzalez's M Racing, which also has Cardiff Giant in the Santa Anita Derby. Puhich has taken over as the trainer of Cardiff Giant, who had been trained by Jorge Periban. They will race as separate betting interests in the Santa Anita Derby.