02/25/2010 12:00AM

Total Bull trying second turn


ARCADIA, Calif. - At 5, Total Bull has made just three starts, but remains a promising horse to trainer Bob Baffert.

Total Bull won his debut at Santa Anita last November, and followed with two second-place finishes in allowances races in recent weeks, all in sprints. Friday, Total Bull makes his first start over 1 1/16 miles in an allowance race at Santa Anita.

Baffert thinks the two-turn race will benefit Total Bull, who will be ridden for the first time by Martin Garcia.

"The route should be a good spot," Baffert said. "I've given him enough sprint races. He had been going too fast and getting a little tired."

To date, his longest start was a neck loss in a seven-furlong allowance race on Feb. 5.

Owned by Hal and Patti Earnhardt, Total Bull is expected to set the pace from the outside post in a field of eight. By Fusaichi Pegasus, Total Bull is likely to go favored, just as in all his previous starts.

Friday's field includes two horses who won their last start - Poker Dave and Quarter Given. Poker Dave won a $25,000 claimer on Jan. 31, his first start since last July. Trained by Eddie Truman, Poker Dave will be ridden by leading rider Rafael Bejarano.

Quarter Given won a maiden special weight race over a mile on the main track on Feb. 7, a race originally scheduled for turf. Trained by Richard Mandella, Quarter Given was second in his first four starts, from October to January.

A horse whose form is harder to decipher is Mr. Hot Stuff, a full brother to the multiple stakes winner Colonel John. Mr. Hot Stuff was third in the Santa Anita Derby and 15th in the Kentucky Derby last year, races that are part of an ongoing 11-race losing streak. Owned by WinStar Farm, Mr. Hot Stuff has one victory in 16 starts.

Trainer Eoin Harty will start Mr. Hot Stuff on Friday without blinkers, the first time the 4-year-old colt has not worn the equipment since a fourth-place finish in an allowance race at Del Mar last August.

Friday's race will be Mr. Hot Stuff's seventh appearance in a first-condition allowance race since last August. During that span, he also finished sixth in the Grade 2 San Fernando Stakes last month.

"I'll just keep throwing stuff against the wall," Harty said of the equipment change. "Someday, he'll win this race."