03/04/2015 12:25PM

Ocho Ocho Ocho set for 3-year-old debut in San Felipe

Barbara D. Livingston
Undefeated Ocho Ocho Ocho will start in Saturday's San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita Park.

Ocho Ocho Ocho, unbeaten in three starts at age 2, is among a bulky field entered Wednesday for Saturday’s Grade 2, $400,000 San Felipe Stakes, an important prep at Santa Anita Park for both the Santa Anita Derby on April 4 and the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 2.

The race is worth 85 Kentucky Derby qualifying points overall, including 50 to the winner. Ocho Ocho Ocho will be looking to add to the 10 points he earned in his last start, the Delta Downs Jackpot on Nov. 22. But while remaining perfect would be an ideal scenario for Ocho Ocho Ocho, his trainer, Jim Cassidy, cautioned on Wednesday that the San Felipe is a means to an end.

“He’s coming into the race fine. He’s done everything we could have done,” Cassidy said at Clocker’s Corner. “But the plan is for two races before the Derby. I don’t want to knock him out. But if he runs well, that’s okay.”

Cassidy said that recent wet weather compromised the training of Ocho Ocho Ocho coming into the San Felipe.

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“I wish we didn’t have the rain. I wish I had a couple more works in him. That would be nice,” Cassidy said. “But it is what it is. The plan has been pretty close to what we wanted.”

In addition to Ocho Ocho Ocho, the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe was expected to lure the likes of Dortmund and Lord Nelson from trainer Bob Baffert’s barn as well as the rapidly improving Prospect Park, trained by Cliff Sise.