01/19/2012 6:37PM

Santa Anita: Liaison works a bullet

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Benoit & Associates
Liaison, with Rafael Bejarano riding, wins the CashCall Futurity.

Arcadia, Calif. - Liaison, trainer Bob Baffert’s top Kentucky Derby hope, worked six furlongs in 1:11 at Santa Anita on Thursday, the fastest of 16 recorded works at the distance.

Working in company with stablemate Sir Allison, Liaison started about five lengths behind and trailed by as many as six lengths on the backstretch. Ridden by jockey Martin Garcia, Liaison reduced the margin quickly in early stretch and finished in front of Sir Allison.

Baffert timed Liaison galloping out seven furlongs in 1:23.40

With a forecast for rain this weekend, Baffert was assured that he at least had a key workout with Liaison going into the weekend. “If it’s going to rain, I don’t have to do anything with him,” he said.

Owned by Arnold Zetcher, Liaison won the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity last month. He is scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut in the $200,000 Robert Lewis Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on Feb. 4.

Maiden race holds promise

Saturday’s sixth race, a $56,000 maiden race for 3-year-olds over 1 1/16 miles, could produce a few runners to challenge Liaison in stakes this spring.

In a field of nine, Baffert has two runners – Lasso, eighth in his debut on Dec. 26, and Castaway, winless in five starts.

The favorite will be Candy’s Jewel, second by a half-length to Groovin’ Solo in a maiden race over a mile on Dec. 30 in his fourth start. Candy’s Jewel has worked quickly since, going five furlongs in 58.80 seconds on Jan. 12.

Trainer John Sadler starts Holy Candy, who was second to Empire Way in a maiden race over 6 1/2 furlongs on Nov. 13 in his debut.

“He got a little sick after his last race and we gave him some time,” Sadler said. “We have high hopes. We think he wants to run long.”