03/31/2012 2:42PM

Santa Anita Derby unlikely to have front-runner Baby Blake


ARCADIA, Calif. – Baby Blake, second in two starter allowance races in March, is unlikely to start in next Saturday’s $750,000 Santa Anita Derby, trainer Mike Pender said on Saturday.

The absence of a longshot such as Baby Blake will have little effect on the betting, but he would have played a role in race strategy as a front-runner.

Pender said that the $11,250 in entry and starter fees are tough to justify for a colt who has won only $38,800 in his career for Cunningham Stable.

Without Baby Blake, Blueskiesnrainbows, another former maiden claimer, may set the pace.

“If there was no speed in there, I might take a chance,” Pender said.

Pender said that Baby Blake may still run in stakes this year, possibly at the forthcoming Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting, which begins on April 26. “He wants to run a mile and a quarter,” Pender said. “I think he’s got a bright future, too.”

The Santa Anita Derby had nine probable starters as of Saturday – Blueskiesnrainbows, Brother Francis, Creative Cause, I’ll Have Another, Liaison, Longview Drive, Midnight Transfer, Paynter, and Senor Rain.

Senor Rain, winless in six stakes in his career, worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 at Hollywood Park on Saturday. Trained by Peter Miller, Senor Rain won an allowance race over seven furlongs on March 16.

Creative Cause and Midnight Transfer were first and third in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes here on March 16. I’ll Have Another won the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes on Feb. 4.

Turbulent Descent back with Puype

The three-time Grade 1 winner Turbulent Descent has rejoined trainer Mike Puype’s stable after a wintertime break.

A 4-year-old filly who has won 6 of 10 starts and $858,350, Turbulent Descent is expected to make her 2012 debut in the $70,000 Desert Stormer Handicap over six furlongs at Hollywood Park on June 17.

“She’s in the barn at Hollywood,” Puype said. “She is jogging and will start galloping in a couple of days.”

Puype said that by pointing for the Desert Stormer 2 1/2 months away that he is “padded with extra time” to prepare Turbulent Descent.

Turbulent Descent was sixth as the favorite in the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita on Dec. 31, a loss that led Puype to give the filly a vacation.

State board to hold safety meeting

The California Horse Racing Board will hold a medication and track safety committee at Santa Anita on April 11 to discuss horse safety issues.

The meeting, which begins at 2 p.m., will include topics on drug testing, veterinary practices, and track safety, including a report on understanding racing injuries presented by officials with the University of California at Davis.

Subjects of discussion will include the impact of significant purses for lower-level claiming races, and the possibility of raising claiming price levels or limiting purses for lower-level horses, as well as an ongoing discussion of an existing rule that voids a claim if a horse is euthanized on the racetrack.

The committee will also consider banning the use of zilpaterol and ractopamine, medications that are designed to build muscle mass.