07/29/2010 2:03PM

Mythical Power, Sangaree good backup plans for Baffert

Lone Star Park
Mythical Power defeats Euroears by a neck in the Texas Mile

DEL MAR, Calif. – Even with Richard’s Kid likely to scratch in favor of Friday’s Cougar II Handicap, trainer Bob Baffert has a formidable team for Saturday’s $200,000 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar in Mythical Power and Sangaree.

This is not a year when a stable needs a top-class runner to win the Grade 2 San Diego, run over 1 1/16 miles. The race lacks a standout, such as Hollywood Gold Cup winner Awesome Gem, or Rail Trip, who won two stakes at Hollywood Park and has since been shipped East.

Instead, the expected field of nine starters features one 2010 graded stakes winner this year in Mythical Power, who won the Grade 3 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park in April. A 4-year-old colt owned by Peachtree Stable, Mythical Power has lost his last two starts as the favorite, finishing eighth in the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Handicap on May 31 and fourth in the Grade 3 Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows on June 26.

“I was sort of disappointed in the race,” Baffert said of the Cornhusker. “He didn’t really get into the race. He’s been working well here. I think he needs to be put in the race.”

Sangaree was second to Rail Trip in the Mervyn Leroy and Californian in the spring and then second to the Baffert-trained E Z’s Gentlemen in the Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap over seven furlongs at Hollywood Park on July 10.

“His seven-eighths race was really good,” Baffert said.

Sangaree needs to improve over 1/16 miles to win the San Diego, Baffert said. \

“Against Rail Trip, he beat so-so horses,” he said.

Battle of Hastings and Dakota Phone placed in Grade 1 races earlier this year. Dakota Phone was third in the Santa Anita Handicap, and could benefit if Isle of Giants, Red Eye Express, and Tres Borrachos contribute to a quick pace in the San Diego.

Battle of Hastings was third in the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile on turf in March and is making his synthetic track debut on Saturday. Battle of Hastings was a troubled fourth in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on turf in May.

“We were breezing him here on the main track at Hollywood Park and he seemed to like it,” trainer Jeff Mullins said. “He’s been right there this year and has had a lot of trouble.”