02/06/2012 2:31PM

Santa Anita Derby will be I'll Have Another's next target

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Benoit & Associates
I'll Have Another, upset winner of the Robert Lewis, will prep just once more before the Kentucky Derby, running in the Santa Anita Derby on April 7.

ARCADIA, Calif. – I’ll Have Another, the upset winner of the Robert Lewis Stakes on Saturday at Santa Anita, came out of the race well and will await the Grade 1, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 7 for his next and final prep for the May 5 Kentucky Derby, his trainer, Doug O’Neill, said Monday morning.

O’Neill said that he and owner Paul Reddam, along with Reddam’s wife, Zillah, and O’Neill’s brother, Dennis – an advisor to Reddam – met at Santa Anita’s Frontrunner restaurant on Sunday afternoon and decided it was prudent to not jam in another prep race.

“He ran so well, and my brother and I do believe that if you run a horse back too quick, he can bounce,” O’Neill said. “He does have bounce written all over him. We think it’s best to keep him fresh.

“We were so elated with his win. Here’s a horse coming off a five-month freshening, going two turns for the first time, and he never turned a hair. So we don’t think he needs any extra experience from that standpoint. He’s pretty close on earnings, so, with a good run in the Santa Anita Derby, he should have enough.”

I’ll Have Another earned a first prize of $120,000 on Saturday. He picked up an additional $30,000 when second last summer in the Best Pal at Del Mar and another $1,000 for an unplaced finish in the Grade 1 Hopeful for a total of $151,000 in graded stakes earnings. The Lewis marked I’ll Have Another’s first start since finishing sixth on a very sloppy track at Saratoga in the Hopeful Stakes on Sept. 5.

I’ll Have Another received a Beyer Speed Figure of 96, a career best and superior to the numbers recorded by Saturday’s other Derby prep winners, Alpha, who got a 90 in the Withers at Aqueduct, and Battle Hardened, who received an 81 for his victory in the Sam Davis at Tampa Bay Downs.

Liaison, who was favored in the Lewis but lost jockey Rafael Bejarano at midstretch after clipping heels, was reported in good shape by his trainer, Bob Baffert. Baffert believed Liaison, the Cash Call Futurity winner, did not fire his best shot because he was rank.

“We’re learning about these horses all the time,” Baffert said. “He got rank, and Rafael should have let him go. He fought him all the way down the backside, and you can’t do that.”

Also Monday, Sabercat, the Delta Jackpot winner, had his first recorded work of the year, going four furlongs in 48.60 seconds at Santa Anita for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Next up on California’s road to the Derby is the Grade, 2, $150,000 San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs on Feb. 19, when Creative Cause, third in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, is scheduled to make his 2012 debut.

Also Monday, Sabercat, the Delta Jackpot winner, had his first recorded work of the year, going four furlongs in 48.60 seconds at Santa Anita for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Next up on California’s road to the Derby is the Grade, 2, $150,000 San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs on Feb. 19, when Creative Cause, third in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, is scheduled to make his 2012 debut.