02/27/2013 2:31PM

Santa Anita: Surface switcher Surfcup goes back to turf


ARCADIA, Calif. – In three career starts, Surfcup has run on turf, a synthetic track, and dirt with varying results.

He won his debut over a mile on turf at Betfair Hollywood Park on Nov. 23, ran sixth in the King Glorious Stakes over seven furlongs on a synthetic track there on Dec. 16, and was third in the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes over a mile on a wet-fast main track at Santa Anita on Jan. 26.

For his fourth start, Surfcup is reverting to his apparent strength, starting in a $58,000 allowance race for California-bred 3-year-olds over a mile on turf at Santa Anita on Friday. Owned by breeder Don Dizney and trained by Bob Baffert, Surfcup worked a half-mile in 48.80 seconds on turf last Sunday.

“He worked really well,” Baffert said.

Surfcup is not a high-profile horse in Baffert’s stable, which is crowded with nationally prominent 3-year-olds. Still, the colt could be a factor in the lucrative statebred division this year.

By Unusual Heat, Surfcup will be favored on Friday. He could set the pace under jockey Rafael Bejarano, although Back to Bako won a one-mile turf race for California-bred maidens from the front on Feb. 7 and could beat him to the lead.

“I’ll leave that up to Bejarano,” Baffert said.

Back to Bako, trained by Blake Heap, won his turf debut on Feb. 7, his sixth start. By Aragorn, Back to Bako has not worked since his win, which was Heap’s intention.

“I didn’t work him because it’s been three weeks and he trains pretty hard,” Heap said.

Even though he won from the front in his last start, Back to Bako is not restricted to that style, Heap said.

“Last time, he broke clean and no one went,” Heap said.

The allowance race drew a field of six.

Condiment, trained by Joseph Brook, was second in the Gold Rush Stakes at Golden Gate Fields last December. Friday’s race is the gelding’s first start on turf and first start in Southern California.

The other starters are Alydidit, China Prince, and Lovmeister, who were fourth, sixth, and 10th in the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes on Jan. 26.

Friday’s race will be the first start on turf for China Prince and Lovmeister.

Alydidit was eighth behind Surfcup in November, but rebounded to win a maiden race for $50,000 claimers on dirt on Jan. 1.