Updated on 02/10/2012 6:05PM

Santa Anita: Princess Arabella looks like short price against four foes

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Princess Arabella, with Martin Gacia riding, wins her debut.

ARCADIA, Calif. – The filly Princess Arabella is well-regarded enough to have been nominated to the Triple Crown by owner Peachtree Stable.

Whether she runs in such historic races will not be known for a few months. What is clear is that Princess Arabella is one of trainer Bob Baffert’s leading 3-year-old fillies, a point she is expected to emphasize in a $58,000 allowance race over seven furlongs at Santa Anita on Sunday.

Princess Arabella will be a heavy favorite against four rivals. “This race came up and we can give her one more race before it’s all Grade 1’s,” Baffert said. He did not state any future race goals.

By Any Given Saturday, Princess Arabella won her debut in a six-furlong allowance race here on Dec. 31, overcoming a slow start to win by a convincing 3 1/2 lengths, earning an 85 Beyer Figure.

Baffert said Sunday’s allowance race can help with Princess Arabella’s fitness. “This will add a little bottom to her,” he said. “She got a late start.”

Princess Arabella’s opposition includes Starship Flare, second in the Grade 3 Miesque Stakes on turf at Hollywood Park on Nov. 25, and the maiden race winners Bella’s Fantasy, Sage d’Oro, and Tapajo.

Sunday’s second race will be the second time this week that Baffert will have a short-priced favorite in an allowance race for 3-year-olds.

Thursday, the colt Fed Biz won his second consecutive start, and first against winners, in an optional claimer over a mile.

The colt, by Giant’s Causeway, had an ideal trip to win by 5 3/4 lengths against four overmatched rivals. Ridden by Rafael Bejarano for owner Kaleem Shah, Fed Biz ($3.40) stalked pacesetter Consulado to early stretch, took the lead on the outside and was hand-ridden to finish. Fed Biz ran a mile in 1:34.74 and earned a 97 Beyer Figure. Consulado finished second, 6 1/2 lengths clear of third-place Blueskiesnrainbows

Baffert noted that Fed Biz, a $950,000 yearling purchase in 2010, has ample room for improvement as the spring classics grow closer. Fed Biz was slow to change leads in the stretch.

“You don’t like to see that,” Baffert said on Friday. “He switched at the end.

“He was just galloping along,” Baffert said. “I found out a lot more about the horse. You can put him where you want. It seems like he has a good mind.”

Fed Biz has won 2 of 3 starts. After finishing fourth in his career debut in a six-furlong sprint at Hollywood Park on Nov. 27, Fed Biz won a maiden race over a mile here on Dec. 30. Fed Biz may ship out of California for his next start. Baffert casually mentioned the $1 million Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 7 as a possibility. Fed Biz does not have any graded stakes earnings, which is the entry criterion if the Kentucky Derby field oversubscribes.

“I’ve got to find the right spot,” Baffert said. “He’s got to get the prize money.”

Baze’s return uncertain

Jockey Tyler Baze, a former leading rider in Southern California, has yet to start a 30-day residency rehabilitation for alcohol-related offenses at Del Mar last summer, and remains suspended on a ruling issues in October by Los Alamitos stewards.

Los Alamitos steward George Slender said earlier this week that Baze has not been in contact regarding the terms of the suspension, which require him to undergo counseling. “We haven’t heard anything at all,” Slender said. “Evidently, he hasn’t started anything.”

Jockey’s agent, Craig O’Bryan, who represented Baze last summer, said on Friday he has not talked to the jockey in recent weeks. Baze, 29, did not return a phone call earlier this week.

In late October, Los Alamitos stewards suspended Baze for 90 days, retroactive to Sept. 1, for failing to take a Breathalyzer test at Del Mar. The jockey was cited for failing to abide by a testing agreement, conduct detrimental to racing, and for lying to Del Mar stewards about the circumstances of a missed Breathalyzer test on Sept. 1.

The 90-day term of Baze’s suspension ended on Nov. 29, and the jockey could have resumed riding then if he had completed the 30-day residency rehabilitation program. The Oct. 28 ruling also stated that Baze must undergo counseling administered by the Winner’s Foundation, an organization that supports racing industry participants with substance abuse problems.

The case was heard by Los Alamitos stewards Slender, Albert Christiansen, and James Dreyer because Del Mar stewards Scott Chaney, Kim Sawyer, and Tom Ward were actively involved in Baze’s case on the morning of Sept. 1, seeking his whereabouts.