02/20/2012 3:09PM

Santa Anita: Drill will focus on one-turn stakes, not Kentucky Derby

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Drill (3) will concentrate on one-turn races, especially those at one mile, according to trainer Bob Baffert.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Wherever one-mile stakes for 3-year-olds are run this spring, Drill will be a nominee.

A day after Drill won his second stakes in the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita, trainer Bob Baffert said no plans have been made for the colt’s next start, but that races around one turn, particularly at a mile, will be given extra consideration.

“I think he’s a middle-distance horse, a one-turn horse,” Baffert said. “We’ll nominate to everything.”

In the seven-furlong San Vicente, Drill stalked pacesetter American Act for the first half-mile. Ridden by Martin Garcia, Drill challenged American Act in early stretch and fought through the final furlong to win by a nose over the pacesetter. Creative Cause, making his first start since a third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs in November, finished third in the field of four.

The win ended a five-race losing streak for Drill, all in stakes, since the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity last September.

“The strategy with him was to win that damn race yesterday,” Baffert said. “He was training really well.”

Baffert did not offer a plan for Drill. The $250,000 Bay Shore Stakes for 3-year-olds over seven furlongs at Aqueduct on April 7 will be considered.

American Act made his stakes debut, and fourth career start, in the San Vicente. The runner-up finish will lead to another stakes appearance, trainer Jack Carava said.

“We’ll look at the schedule for the next couple of month and what are options are,” Carava said. “He gives it all when he runs.

“I could ship him. I don’t think it would be an issue. There are so many spots around the country.”

Before the San Vicente, trainer Mike Harrington said the $500,000 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 17 would be an option for Creative Cause. Monday, he backed away from that specific plan, saying a decision will be made in coming weeks. A factor in race selection is the presence of stablemate Empire Way, who is likely to start in the $300,000 San Felipe Stakes here on March 10. Both Creative Cause and Empire Way are owned by Heinz Steinmann.

“I haven’t determined what I’m doing yet,” he said. “Things can change a lot. I’ve got two horses involved. I’ll sit on it before I commit to what I’m doing.”

Of course, the long-term goal for Creative Cause and Empire Way is the Kentucky Derby on May 5. The third-place finish in the San Vicente did nothing to derail those plans.

“I got what I wanted out of it,” Harrington said of the San Vicente. “Obviously, I would like to have won. He’s not really a seven-furlong horse.

“I think he’s very much on track.”