01/12/2013 8:35PM

Santa Anita: Fed Biz fights hard to capture San Fernando by a head

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Benoit & Associates
Fed Biz and jockey Mike Smith (right) barely outfinish Tritap and Corey Nakatani to win the San Fernando Stakes.

ARCADIA, Calif .- Fed Biz can win a stretch duel as well as any horse in California these days. The trouble is he is not always in contention at that stage of a race.

Last August, Fed Biz won the El Cajon Stakes at Del Mar over Jimmy Creed by a neck after fighting through the final furlong. Jimmy Creed later won the Group 1 Malibu Stakes here on Dec. 26.

Saturday, Fed Biz outfinished Tritap by just a head to win the $150,000 San Fernando Stakes for 4-year-olds over 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita.

The victory ended a three-race losing streak in major stakes for Fed Biz, a colt by Giant’s Causeway who races for Kaleem Shah and trainer Bob Baffert.

“He’s getting his stuff back,” Baffert said. “He needed to get a win.”

Ridden by Mike Smith, Fed Biz inherited the lead in the Grade 2 San Fernando after the Baffert-trained Mile High Magic broke slowly. Fed Biz set a moderate pace of 23.59 and 47.28 seconds, leading by as much as a length.

Tritap was within a head of Fed Biz with a furlong remaining. Through the last sixteenth, Tritap was next to Fed Biz, but could not get by the leader, losing by a head. Fed Biz ($11.20) was timed in 1:42.34.

Tritap, who broke from the outside in the field of 10, raced wide throughout. He finished a half-length in front of the Baffert-trained Guilt Trip, who closed well to be third.

The San Fernando was Tritap’s California stakes debut.

“We had to do too much from the outside,” jockey Corey Nakatani said. “He ran a dynamite race. He was unlucky to get beat.”

Smith rode Fed Biz in the Malibu, but said the colt lost all chance after becoming upset in the gate in the moments before the start.

“He was discouraged,” Smith said.

Baffert had three runners in the San Fernando. Aside from Fed Biz and Guilt Trip, Mile High Magic, the 4-1 favorite, was eased by jockey Martin Garcia on the turn. Baffert said that Mile High Magic was “fine” after the race. The Baffert-trained Sky Kingdom was scratched early Saturday.

Fed Biz has won 4 of 8 starts and $274,456. The El Cajon and San Fernando are his stakes wins. After the El Cajon, Fed Biz was third in the Grade 2 Indiana Derby in October, eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on Nov. 2, and sixth in the Malibu after the incident in the gate here on Dec. 26.

Baffert said after the San Fernando that Fed Biz would be stretched out in distance. Two obvious options in coming months are the $200,000 Strub Stakes for 4-year-olds over 1 1/8 miles on Feb. 2 and the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap over 1 1/4 miles on March 2.

“I expect so much from this horse,” Baffert said.