03/15/2013 4:17PM

Santa Anita: War Academy revives Kentucky Derby aspirations with allowance win


ARCADIA, Calif. – Add the name War Academy to the Bob Baffert 3-year-old arsenal.

Making his first start around two turns in the third start of his career, War Academy ran down stablemate Manando to win a first-level allowance Friday at Santa Anita and keep his Kentucky Derby hopes alive.

Mike Smith rode War Academy ($3.80) to the 3 1/2-length victory in 1:43.42, after which Baffert said the son of Giant’s Causeway will jump into the deep end.

“I’m going to run him in a big prep,” Baffert said. “It’ll be 100 points, wherever it is.”

War Academy, a son of Giant’s Causeway, has always been well-regarded.

But after a debut victory Nov. 9 at Betfair Hollywood Park, he got sick and did not start again until Feb. 17, when he finished fourth in the Grade 2, seven-furlong San Vicente.

War Academy finished fourth in the San Vicente, and then stretched out Friday to win his first route while doing his best running late.

“He was just getting going at the wire,” Baffert said.

War Academy joins a host of Derby hopefuls from the Baffert stable, including Super Ninety Nine, Flashback, Den’s Legacy, Code West, and Shakin It Up.

“Believe me, you need all the bullets you can get,” Baffert said.

Manando finished second, 3 3/4 lengths clear of third-place Brokered.