Updated on 09/16/2011 8:56AM

Robledo hits the Derby trail

Benoit Photo
Pocketfullofpesos, claimed for $40,000 at Hollywood Park on Nov. 9, became the second ex-claimer to win a stakes during opening week at Santa Anita when she won the $125,000 California Breeders' Champion Stakes on Friday.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Robledo is bound for the $150,000 Santa Catalina Stakes on Jan. 18 following a victory in a $56,000 allowance race at Santa Anita on Saturday that his trainer described as "professional." Making his first start around two turns, Robledo ($10.80) beat even-money favorite Apalachian Thunder by a half-length, running 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.92.

Ridden by David Flores, Robledo was third on the rail until the final turn, chasing a slow pace of 24.06 and 48.10 set by Apalachian Thunder and Ozzie Cat. At the top of the stretch, Flores switched Robledo to the outside of Apalachian Thunder and slowly cut into Apalachian Thunder's lead, which was two lengths at the eighth pole.

"He ran super," said Robledo's trainer, Vladimir Cerin. "It looks like he can go two turns. Today, he ran a professional race. He sat there and he waited."

Apalachian Thunder finished second, a neck in front of Ozzie Cat in the field of six. Apalachian Thunder was making his first start for trainer Bob Baffert. He was coming off a sixth-place finish in the Generous Stakes on turf at Hollywood Park on Nov. 30 for Howard Zucker.

Robledo races for Push Push Stable and has won 2 of 4 starts.

The Santa Catalina is run over 1 1/16 miles. It is the first major prep for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 5.

Where ex-claimers rule

The opening week of the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting has been very kind to ex-claimers moving into stakes.

On Thursday, Debonair Joe won the for 2-year-olds.

Pocketfullofpesos ran seven furlongs in 1:23.16, beating the late-running Long Term Wish. Denali Cat finished third after leading in early stretch. Humorous Lady, the 7-5 favorite in the field of 10 California-breds, finished sixth.

Ridden by Patrick Valenzuela, Pocketfullofpesos was fourth early, challenged Denali Cat in early stretch, and won by three lengths.

Pocketfullofpesos races for the partnership of Phil Belmonte, Hank Cohen, Sean Gerson, Dave Gould, and Barry Shapiro. Trainer Mike Mitchell spotted Pocketfullofpesos last month and quickly put together an ownership group after Gerson, who owns 50 percent of the filly, committed his support.

"I told my owners that if she looked good I would take her," Mitchell said. Previously trained by Bob Baffert, Pocketfullofpesos won the day she was claimed and returned on Dec. 7 to win a starter allowance. Even though she was making her stakes debut Friday, Pocketfullofpesos took some betting. She opened at 5-2 before going off at 9-1.

Mitchell said the seven-furlong distance of the stakes was perfect for Pocketfullofpesos. Mitchell and Gerson said her next start will come in the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Oaks for California-breds and Florida-breds on Jan. 25. It also is over seven furlongs.

Bosque Redondo heading home

Bosque Redondo, who was injured in the Pacific Classic last August, remains hospitalized at an Orange County equine clinic, but is expected to be relocated to co-owner John Toffan's farm in Bradbury, Calif., this week.

Bosque Redondo suffered fractured sesamoids to his right foreleg in the Pacific Classic on Aug. 25. He underwent surgery in late August to stabilize the injury.

Toffan said that Bosque Redondo recently recovered from an infection.

"Hopefully, we'll have him home by the first of the year," Toffan said. "He looks like he'll be all right."

Because of the injury, Bosque Redondo will not be able to stand at stud in 2003, Toffan said. A 5-year-old, Bosque Redondo won 6 of 17 starts for Toffan and Trudy McCaffery, including the San Bernardino Handicap last April.

"He can't do stallion service this year," Toffan said. "We've gotten quite a bit of interest from people and that's encouraging."

Here come the stakes

Beginning with the Monrovia Handicap on Tuesday, there are seven stakes in six days at Santa Anita. The richest race of the week is the $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on dirt Saturday. The probables include Cottage, Euchre, Hot Market, Jimmy Z, and Kudos.

Hot Market is using the race as a prep for the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic for California-breds and Florida-breds at Gulfstream Park Jan. 25. Kudos has not started since winning the Oaklawn Handicap on April 6. He underwent surgery last spring to have a bone chip removed from an ankle.

On Wednesday, Kona Gold starts in the $100,000 El Conejo Handicap over 5 1/2 furlongs. Kona Gold, who will turn 9 on Jan. 1, won the El Conejo in 1999 as a 5-year-old. He will face Avanzado, Mellow Fellow, and Roman Dancer.

Disturbingthepeace working again

Disturbingthepeace, who won three consecutive stakes before finishing unplaced in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, has resumed workouts after missing training time due to a foot injury.

On Saturday, Disturbingthepeace worked three furlongs in 37.60 seconds. Trainer Darrell Vienna said Disturbingthepeace may not be ready to run in the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint on Jan. 25.

A California-bred, Disturbingthepeace grabbed a quarter in late November, which prevented him from starting in the Great State Challenge Sprint at Sam Houston Race Park on Dec. 7.