03/15/2013 5:17PM

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.



John More than 1 year ago
I would imagine War Academy will turn out to be a nice grass horse in the end ! I saw the winner of the San Luis Rey , Bright Thought ran a worlds record mile and 1/2, incredible for a horse than ran for $25,000 6 months ago ! Nice training job !.........................watch, one of the big boys will step in and buy this horse !
Dave More than 1 year ago
Beating this field doesn't mean a whole lot if you ask me.
George Sudduth More than 1 year ago
maybe.................... if you run against something decent
Nick Gunritz More than 1 year ago
Everyone tries to put horses in some sort of bubble after 2 or 3 starts. This horse is bred beautifully and seems to be improving well enough to have as good of a chance as any to win the Derby but he's going to only have one chance to get points, can't afford a bad trip
jay More than 1 year ago
All this race proved was that Manando can't get a mile and a sixteenth, and that War Academy needs to run the first half mile at least 2 or 3 seconds faster to have a prayer in his next race.
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
That could not have been an easier win anywhere . Horse just looked like he was on cruise control at the 1/4 pole. Got to like when any horse wins with his ears pricked foward like that while being geared down. A win is a win ! Its all about peaking at the right time and Baffert has to smiling after that race. When 1 of Bobs horses bullet misses his target, Baffert has another that does. Nice W Baffert ......
Albert More than 1 year ago
Just being in the Baffert barn adds 10 points to a horse's speed rating, right? They're all potential Derby winners, right? Wrong. Slow is slow. Forget the surface, Super 99's numbers were not much different from the others in the Rebel and that's the way he ran. It remains to be seen just how much Flashback got out of his last race, which he should have crushed if he was as fast as most readers thought. His numbers also did not lay over the field before the race and certainly panned out the way that they looked. Let me say something very daring: Baffert is not training the Derby winner this year. Not nearly. Jerry Hollendorfer may have the best 3yo coming from the west. Just look for an improved number from him in the SA Derby. If you get it, win or not, you have a horse going in the right direction in the hands of a man who is slightly under the radar, which means some decent odds.
George Sudduth More than 1 year ago
all 99 can hope for is rain....if he makes it to the Derby
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Baffert and his speed, speed, speed. War Academy couldn't keep up going two turns into a reletively slow pace, yet he came home pretty quick and galloped out strong. Sometimes you stretch runner whether you want one or not. For that reason, my guess is this horse just went to the top of Bob's Derby list, or at least is right there with Flashback. Another guess, Super 99 needing a tighter surface to carry his speed, will head back west to be a rabbit for those two.
Anil More than 1 year ago
Wow . Very impressive.
Mark. More than 1 year ago
Baffert seems to have too many Ky Dby candidates to do them all justice.
Meydan Rocks More than 1 year ago
Mark, Is there any other trainer out there who has proven he/she can juggle what BB is juggling (IE: too many good horses) better? And in this game of horse racing where owners fire trainers in a heartbeat, is there anything like too much of a good thing is bad? I also wondered about your comment. Owners pick and chose who they ask to BUY horses and then train for them. Free will. Now all those horses could have been bought by other trainers. All they had to do was wait and watch for horses BB was bidding on and then outbid them. I think the secret is KNOWING which horses to but. It's instinct. I think BB has that more than most. Which is why he has "too many" good horses. Instinct can't be taught btw. Which is why owners flock to BB.
mdavis8357 More than 1 year ago
Well said Meydan.