02/14/2012 2:53PM

Santa Anita: Bodemeister headed to stakes after maiden romp

Benoit & Associates
Bodemeister will move on to stakes following his 9 1/4-length maiden victory at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. – An impressive maiden race win by Bodemeister at Santa Anita last Saturday will result in a stakes appearance in March. The race and date have yet to be finalized, trainer Bob Baffert said Tuesday.

Baffert is loaded with Triple Crown hopefuls and is likely to use stakes at Santa Anita and other tracks such as Oaklawn Park to avoid running too many of his horses in the same race.

“I’ll have to give extra time and run him back in March somewhere,” Baffert said. “I’ll have to find a spot.”

Opportunities are dwindling at the current Santa Anita winter-spring meeting. The next two-turn stakes for 3-year-olds is the $300,000 San Felipe Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on March 10, a prep for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 7.

Making his second career start last weekend, Bodemeister led throughout a one-mile maiden race for 3-year-olds, pulling clear in the stretch to win by 9 1/4 lengths under a hand-ride from jockey Rafael Bejarano.

Bodemeister, owned by Zayat Stables, ran a mile in 1:34.45, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 99. The win left Baffert a little surprised.

“I thought he’d run well,” he said.

To have any chance of gaining a spot in the Kentucky Derby, Bodemeister will need significant graded stakes earnings, the tiebreaker used if the race oversubscribes. Gaining such earnings for Bodemeister is not a concern for Baffert.

“If he runs back like he did, I don’t think it will be a problem,” he said.

Baffert’s 3-year-old division will be active in two states this week. Earlier this week, he sent Secret Circle, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint at Churchill Downs in November, and the maiden race winner Castaway to Arkansas for the $250,000 Southwest Stakes over a mile at Oaklawn Park on Monday.

Secret Circle was second by a half-length to Out of Bounds in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes over a mile on Jan. 7.

Sunday at Santa Anita, Drill, winless in five starts since the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity in September, will start in the $150,000 San Vicente Stakes over seven furlongs. The San Vicente field is led by Creative Cause, third in the BC Juvenile at Churchill Downs in November.