03/30/2014 4:35PM

Santa Anita Derby: Hoppertunity works five furlongs, might go in race

Coady Photography
From left, Hoppertunity wins the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes over Tapiture and Ride On Curlin at Oaklawn Park.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Hoppertunity, the winner of the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 15, worked five furlongs in 1:01.20 at Santa Anita on Sunday, leading trainer Bob Baffert to deem the colt a “possibility” for Saturday’s $1 million Santa Anita Derby.

Hoppertunity has won 2 of 4 starts and earned $410,720 for owners Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman. By Any Given Saturday, Hoppertunity was fourth in his stakes debut in the Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds on Feb. 22 and rebounded to win the Rebel Stakes over 1 1/16 miles by a half-length.

Hoppertunity bumped with runner-up Tapiture in the stretch of the Rebel. After a stewards’ inquiry and a jockey’s objection, the order of finish was not changed.

Hoppertunity is one of three possible starters trained by Baffert for the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby over 1 1/8 miles. He considers the unbeaten Bayern and The Admiral, an allowance race winner March 16, as candidates. Bayern also is possible for the $1 million Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on April 12.

The Santa Anita Derby is led by the 2014 stakes winners California Chrome and Candy Boy. Other expected runners are Big Tire, Dublin Up, Friendswith K Mill, Rprettyboyfloyd, and Schoolofhardrocks.

California Chrome, the winner of the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes on March 8, is the likely favorite. Candy Boy won the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Feb. 8.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Kristo, third in the San Felipe Stakes, worked six furlongs in 1:12.40 on Sunday, preparing for the $1 million Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct on Saturday. Trained by John Sadler, Kristo was second in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes in his stakes debut Jan. 11.

Sadler plans to send Kobe’s Back to Aqueduct for Saturday’s $300,000 Bay Shore Stakes for 3-year-olds over seven furlongs. Kobe’s Back won the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes over seven furlongs in February and was seventh in the Rebel Stakes.

Raymond Roberts More than 1 year ago
Hoppertunity should work-up to K.Derby...Baffert can do this.This horse is made for 1 1/4miles.
Edward Nelson More than 1 year ago
Id prefer bayern to run in th SA derby. That way i can capitalize on all the silly money bet onthe most overrated 3 yr old- California Chrome.
Sy Bonem More than 1 year ago
Separating California Chrome and Bayern is probably best for both horse leading up to the Kentucky Derby. This way Bayern will get the needed experience without having to tangle with a more experienced horse.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Who is Baffert kidding? Hoppertunity runs in the SA Derby with Mike Smith or waits for the Ky. Derby. Bayern runs in the Ark. Derby with Stevens. The Admiral is the wild card. Mike Smith has already given the call to Pletcher on Commissioner for the Ark. Derby and Stevens is ridiing for Pletcher in the Oaklawn Hdcp. and thus will ride Bayern in Ark. and Candy Boy in the SA Derby.
john g More than 1 year ago
I would think Mike Smith and Gary Stevens both know who butters their bread out in Ca., and it seems to me both jocks ride the west coast the most, where Baffert trains.
dameian ramsay More than 1 year ago
Mike Smith and Gary Stevens don't really need baffert because they get more than enough work from other trainers in the west and east coast trainers when it comes to the big money races. Besides game on dude how many killer horses do baffert have. He don't even have the best 3yr old on the west coast
dameian ramsay More than 1 year ago
Well money Mike gonna have to make a decision later in the yer for breeders cup classic either palace malice or game on dude. I say he will take palace malice.