03/30/2012 3:05PM

Santa Anita: Freshness supplants experience for Santa Anita Derby prospect I'll Have Another

Benoit & Associates
If I'll Have Another has been given two months of rest to come into next weekend's Santa Anita Derby as a fresh horse.

ARCADIA, Calif. – I’ll Have Another will be one of the most lightly raced horses of 2012 when he starts in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita next Saturday.

By design, I’ll Have Another has run once this year, an upset win at 43-1 in the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes here on Feb. 4. Following that race, owner Paul Reddam and trainer Doug O’Neill said the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby would be I’ll Have Another’s next start.

“Knock on wood, we’ll have a fresh, happy sonofagun,” O’Neill said on Friday. “We’re hoping to have a nice run in May, June, and July.”

I’ll Have Another has $151,000 in graded stakes earnings, and will need a big performance in the Santa Anita Derby to secure a place in the Kentucky Derby field – and justify a trip. The top 20 3-year-olds, ranked by graded stakes earnings, are assured places in the field. As of Friday, I’ll Have Another was 20th.

Friday at Hollywood Park, I’ll Have Another had his last major workout before the Santa Anita Derby, which is run over 1 1/8 miles. Working alone, he had an official time of 1:26 for seven furlongs. O’Neill described the workout as six furlongs in 1:12.40, with a final three furlongs in 35.40 seconds.

I’ll Have Another will be ridden by Mario Gutierrez, who was aboard for the win in the Robert Lewis. Gutierrez, a top rider in the Pacific Northwest in past years, is seeking the first Grade 1 win of his career.

I’ll Have Another is one of 10 probable starters for the Santa Anita Derby, a race expected to include Baby Blake, Blueskiesnrainbows, Brother Francis, Creative Cause, Longview Drive, Midnight Transfer, Liaison, Paynter, and Senor Rain.

Holy Candy, a maiden race winner on March 23, will work this weekend, and could join the field or start in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 14, trainer John Sadler said on Friday.

Midnight Transfer, the winner of the San Pedro Stakes for sprinters in January, worked six furlongs in 1:11.80 on Friday. Trained by Carla Gaines, Midnight Transfer was third behind Santa Anita Derby favorite Creative Cause in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on March 10.