12/26/2012 2:15PM

Santa Anita: Super Ninety Nine drops from graded stakes for first try going six furlongs

Barbara D. Livingston
Super Ninety Nine will cut back to six furlongs for the first time for Friday's allowance feature.

ARCADIA, Calif. – For now, the 2-year-old Super Ninety Nine is best known for being scratched from the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint at Santa Anita in November.

He was found cast in his stall on the morning of the BC Juvenile Sprint, a setback that was not severe. He was the 5-2 second choice on the morning line.

Super Ninety Nine later finished second in the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue Stakes as the 4-5 favorite on Nov. 22. He can further restore his reputation with a victory in a $58,000 allowance race over six furlongs at Santa Anita on Friday.

A colt by Pulpit, Super Ninety Nine is owned by Tanma Corp. and trained by Bob Baffert.

Friday’s race will be Super Ninety Nine’s first start at Santa Anita since a convincing win in his debut over seven furlongs on Oct. 7. Purchased for $260,000 earlier this year, Super Ninety Nine makes his third start on Friday.

“He’s been working well so this will be a good spot,” Baffert said. “I’m surprised the race filled. I expect him to run a big race.”

Super Ninety Nine, who will be ridden by Martin Garcia, has never run at a distance as short as six furlongs. Baffert thinks the distance will be fine for him, as will longer distances.

“He’s a real strong horse,” Baffert said. “He’s fast. I think he’ll be able to carry it. I don’t know how far.”

Three other runners in the field have stakes experience.

Know More won the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes in his career debut at Del Mar on Aug. 5, but is winless in his last four starts, all graded stakes. He was eighth in the Grade 3 Delta Jackpot Stakes in Louisiana on Nov. 17. Trained by Doug O’Neill, Know More wears blinkers for the first time on Friday.

Counting Day was seventh in the Grade 3 Generous Stakes on turf on Nov. 24.

Mico Margarita was third in the BC Juvenile Turf Sprint on Nov. 3 and was beaten a nose in an optional claimer over six furlongs at Hollywood Park on Dec. 6.

“He’s very versatile,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “He’s a fun horse to be around. Hopefully, it will continue.”

The race drew a field of six. Distinctiv Passion, a maiden race winner on Nov. 25 in his first start since August, drew the rail and is likely to lead.

“The break did him a lot of good,” trainer Jeff Bonde said. “He grew, filled out and got a lot more professional.”