03/03/2013 7:21PM

Santa Anita: Flashback has eventful work for San Felipe Stakes

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Barbara D. Livingston
Flashback, with jockey Julien Leparoux up, works five furlongs in 59 seconds Sunday at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Flashback, the unbeaten 3-year-old, had a tougher test than expected in a Sunday morning workout at Santa Anita.

A leading contender for Saturday’s $300,000 San Felipe Stakes, Flashback worked five furlongs in 59 seconds, the fastest of 63 recorded works at the distance. But the circumstances of the stretch run of the workout were not what jockey Julien Leparoux and trainer Bob Baffert envisioned.

Flashback worked in tandem with stakes-winning stablemate Den’s Legacy, starting behind the maiden filly Classic Candy. Nearing the eighth pole, Classic Candy, trained by Jorge Gutierrez, was still in front of the Baffert pair and racing wide, when she moved slightly to the inside, forcing Leparoux to shout for room. By the time Flashback caught Classic Candy, there was ample space for the three horses as the Baffert team ran by. Classic Candy was timed in 1:01.40 for her workout.

“It’s a good thing I had the horse,” Leparoux said.

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Baffert timed Flashback in 59.31 for five furlongs, galloping out six furlongs in 1:12.20. Owned by Gary and Mary West, Flashback has won two starts, including the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes over 1 1/16 miles Feb. 2. The Grade 2 San Felipe is a key prep for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby over 1 1/8 miles April 6.

Baffert, who won Saturday’s $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap with Game On Dude, said he is even more excited about Flashback’s appearance in the San Felipe.

“I can’t wait,” he said. “I’ll be more nervous for that race.”

Leparoux rides Flashback who will be favored in the San Felipe. The race is likely to draw a field of eight, including Goldencents, winner of the Grade 3 Sham Stakes over a mile Jan. 5, who will be well-backed.

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Other probable starters are Hear the Ghost, Kochees, Omega Star, Salutos Amigos, and Tiz a Minister. Baffert said that Carving, winner of the Real Quiet Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park in November but fourth in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields on Feb. 16, is a possible starter.

Carving, co-owned by Baffert’s wife, Jill, and American Olympic skier Bode Miller, worked six furlongs in 1:13.60 on Sunday.

Omega Star, second to Tiz a Minister in the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes on Jan. 26, worked six furlongs in 1:13.80 at Hollywood Park on Sunday.