04/08/2012 4:02PM

Santa Anita: Bodemeister tunes up for Arkansas Derby

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Benoit & Associates
Drill (left) will run in the Northern Spur at Oaklawn rather than the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland this weekend.

There will be Southern California-based runners in two major Kentucky Derby preps in Arkansas and Kentucky this weekend.

The Bob Baffert-trained Bodemeister will be ridden by Mike Smith in Saturday’s $1 million Arkansas Derby. Sunday at Santa Anita, Bodemeister, second to Creative Cause in the San Felipe, worked five furlongs in 1:00.40.

“He just cruised around there,” Baffert said.

Baffert will also start Secret Circle, the winner of the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 17, in the Arkansas Derby.

Drill, the winner of the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita over seven furlongs in February, will start in Saturday’s $100,000 Northern Spur Stakes over a mile at Oaklawn Park, Baffert said. The Hall of Fame trainer had considered Saturday’s $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes over 1 1/8 miles at Keeneland for Drill, but has opted for the shorter race.

Baffert said he has no plans for Drill beyond that race.

“I’ll have to think about it,” he said.

Drill has $300,000 in graded stakes earnings, which should be sufficient to gain a spot in the Kentucky Derby, if that race is chosen.

Drill has never won beyond seven furlongs, including a 10th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs last November.

The maiden winner Holy Candy worked six furlongs in 1:13.40 on Sunday.

He was scratched from Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby in favor of the Blue Grass Stakes.