04/06/2011 2:27PM

Santa Anita Derby draw: Premier Pegasus, Jaycito land outside posts

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ARCADIA, Calif. – The draw for the Santa Anita Derby had just taken place Wednesday morning when trainer Bob Baffert came barreling into the Santa Anita racing office and found out that, only seconds earlier, Jaycito had drawn the far outside post in the field of 11.

“Seriously? Really?” Baffert said, briefly disappointed. Then, in typical Baffert fashion, he joked, “You guys need to re-draw,” then added, “He likes the outside rail, anyway,” referring to Jaycito’s flirtation with the outer rail in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

SANTA ANITA DERBY DAY: Watch Brad Free's preview videos and see the races live this Saturday

Unlike the members of Spinal Tap, Baffert did not want to go to 11. Though Jaycito will drop back and make one run in the Grade 1, $1 million Santa Anita Derby on Saturday, he still needs to make up 7 3/4 lengths on Premier Pegasus, who beat Jaycito by that margin last month’s 1 1/16-mile San Felipe Stakes.

Premier Pegasus, who drew post 8 in the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby, was so dominant in the San Felipe that he was made the 8-5 favorite on the morning line of Jon White of Santa Anita for Saturday’s race. Jaycito is the second choice at 4-1, with Silver Medallion next at 9-2.

Bench Points, who was third in the San Felipe, and Comma to the Top, who was fourth, are also back for the Santa Anita Derby.
In addition to Premier Pegasus and Jaycito, other top contenders have outside posts. Anthony’s Cross, the winner of the Robert Lewis Stakes, is in post 9, and Bench Points is in post 10.

Silver Medallion, the El Camino Real Derby winner, drew well, landing post 4

Based on their earlier stakes victories this year in California, Anthony’s Cross, Premier Pegasus, and Silver Medallion are all eligible for the Preakness 5.5 bonus. Should any of them win the Santa Anita Derby, then come back and take the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 21, they will receive a bonus of $5.5 million.

Dialed In, by virtue of his victories at Gulfstream Park in the Holy Bull and last week’s Florida Derby, is already two-thirds of the way toward that bonus.

The Santa Anita Derby is the 10th race on an 11-race card that begins at noon Pacific. Preceding it are the Las Cienegas Handicap for female turf sprinters, the Providencia Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on turf, and the Arcadia Stakes for turf milers, featuring Caracortado.

But the Santa Anita Derby is the main event. In addition to the potential Preakness bonus, the race itself is worth $600,000, and second is worth $200,000, crucial numbers for a May 7 Kentucky Derby that again seems certain to have at least 20 runners. If more than 20 enter, earnings in graded stakes races will determine the field.

Jaycito will be making his second start of the year, and for Baffert, who took over as his trainer when owner Ahmed Zayat switched him from Mike Mitchell after the Breeders’ Cup. The San Felipe on March 12 was Jaycito’s first start in more than four months. He removed blinkers for the first time in the San Felipe, but Baffert is putting them back on for the Santa Anita Derby.

“He wasn’t very focused,” Baffert said. “He never laid his body down. He wasn’t tired after the race. He didn’t look like a horse who had put out.”

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