03/04/2012 7:28PM

Santa Anita: San Felipe pivotal test for Midnight Transfer

Benoit & Associates
Midnight Transfer, winner of the San Pedro, will attempt two turns and move up to graded stakes company for the San Felipe.

Midnight Transfer makes his graded stakes debut and first start around two turns in Saturday’s $300,000 San Felipe Stakes over 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita. The outcome will determine how owner Warren Williamson and trainer Carla Gaines proceed with Midnight Transfer in coming months.

“We might as well figure it out now,” Gaines said.

Sunday at Santa Anita, Midnight Transfer worked a half-mile in 49 seconds under jockey Victor Espinoza, who will ride the Hard Spun colt for the first time on Saturday.

“I was looking for a nice blowout, maybe a little faster than 49,”

Gaines said. “He galloped out strong. He came back playing and bucking.”

Midnight Transfer lost his first three starts before winning a maiden race over six furlongs on Dec. 26. He followed with a head victory in the San Pedro Stakes over 6 1/2 furlongs on Jan. 22, his most recent race.

The San Felipe is a key prep for the Santa Anita Derby. The probable starters include Empire Way and Rousing Sermon, second and fourth to I’ll Have Another in the Robert Lewis Stakes;  the allowance race winner Fed Biz; Liaison, the winner of the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity in December; and Blingo, sixth in the CashCall.

Rousing Sermon worked a half-mile in 46.60 seconds at Hollywood Park on Sunday, the fastest of 22 works at the distance.

Liaison did not finish the Lewis Stakes after unseating jockey Rafael Bejarano in the stretch after clipping heels.

I’ll Have Another tunes up

I’ll Have Another, trainer Doug O’Neill’s best chance for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 7, worked six furlongs between races in 1:10.16 on Saturday.

“He’s the real deal,” O’Neill said.

The winner of the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes on Feb. 4, I’ll Have Another was ridden by jockey Mario Gutierrez in the workout.  Handsome Mike and I’ll Have Another are owned by Paul Reddam.

Earlier on Saturday, O’Neill lost one of Reddam’s 3-year-olds when Cat’s Enough, a Tale of the Cat colt, suffered sesamoid injuries in the stretch of a maiden race over 1 1/16 miles. Cat’s Enough was euthanized, the trainer said.

Cat’s Enough grabbed the shoe on his right foreleg at the gate, and suffered severe injuries to his left foreleg, O’Neill said.