03/30/2013 11:16AM

Santa Anita Derby comeback spot for Power Broker

Barbara D. Livingston
Power Broker, here training in early March, will make his first start since finishing fifth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Power Broker has been something of a forgotten horse in recent months, even if he was a Grade 1 winner as a 2-year-old last September.

He can make up for lost time in Saturday’s $750,000 Santa Anita Derby.

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Power Broker is scheduled to make his first start in the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby since a fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. The colt, by Pulpit, is owned by Gary and Mary West and trained by Bob Baffert, who already have a formidable runner in the Santa Anita Derby in Flashback, the winner of the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb. 2.

Baffert tried to continue to race Power Broker last fall. In the weeks after the BC Juvenile, Power Broker had two half-mile workouts before Baffert took him out of training. At the time, he said that Power Broke was a “very light horse” that “needs to fill out.”

The workouts resumed in mid-February and Power Broker has worked steadily since then.

“He’s more mature now,” Baffert said on Friday. “He’s got a great foundation.”

Even though the colt lacks a recent start, the trainer is not concerned about his ability to be a factor in his comeback.

“We don’t mess around,” he said. “I know he can go the distance.”

Purchased for $360,000 at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale, Power Broker has 1 win in 5 starts – the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes over 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita last September. The FrontRunner was Power Broker’s fourth start. He was fourth and third in maiden races at Del Mar before finishing second by a neck in the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf Stakes on turf there on Sept. 5.

In the BC Juvenile, Power Broker had a wide trip throughout the 1 1/16 miles. He was as close as 1 1/2 lengths to the leaders with a furlong remaining but faded to finish five lengths behind winner Shanghai Bobby.

Power Broker is one of eight projected starters in the Santa Anita Derby. Flashback, second in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes on March 9, is the likely favorite, though San Felipe winner Hear the Ghost will be well backed.

Baffert also plans to start Super Ninety Nine, who won the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park in February but was fifth in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes there on March 16. Other candidates are Tiz a Minister and Goldencents, third and fourth in the San Felipe; the maiden race winner Storm Fighter; and Dirty Swagg, last of five behind Goldencents in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 5.