Brian’s Derby Preps: The San Vicente

Santa Anita: The Grade II, $150,000 San Vicente at 7 furlongs

#1 Let’s Get Crackin: Blinks come off after a solid run in the local San Pedro, so look for a little less speed from this gelding, who makes his first start for Dollase today. That last run was a huge improvement, figure-wise, so you wonder if regression is coming, not to mention that the equipment change is an odd one. There seems to be some talent here, but this is asking a lot from a horse that hasn’t won since beating N1X foes at Hoosier last August; minor award, at best.

#2 Creative Cause: Won the GI Norfolk over the track last fall at two turns before wrapping up his season with a fine third in the BC Juvenile, and he makes his first start of 2012 as California’s leading Derby contender. Of course, in the “What have you done for me lately?” world of racing, he’s starting fresh today, and there’s no guarantee he’s bridged the gap from 2 to 3. With that being said, there’s really no one of any consequence in here and he’s found a cushy spot to kick off his campaign, even though this one-turn sprint is well short of his best trip; imposing favorite.

#3 Drill: For all the accolades he got for winning the GI Del Mar Futurity, he’s been nothing short of a major disappointment since, so he’s got a lot of improving to do to hit the wire first today. Enters off a poor fifth in the San Pedro, and we’ve already mentioned ‘Crackin doesn’t hit too hard here, so that’s not helping this colt’s cause either. Baffert forges on, which is a good sign, and it’s not like there much here aside from ‘Cause, but he figures to be an underlay again and others have more upside; tossing him completely.

#4 Smoking G: Finally put it all together when breaking his maiden going down the hill last time, and now he tries the main track in an effort to find out where he stands with the 3yo main track runners. Lightly raced son of Smoke Glacken is coming along quite nicely, and while some other might be prepping or looking for longer distances, seven furlongs figures to smack him right between the eyes, so the class rise makes sense. There’s talent here to be sure, and if ‘Cause isn’t ready and no one else steps forward, then just maybe he can surprise at fair odds; thinking he runs a biggie.

#5 American Act: Speedball got the job done on the front end going 5 ½ furlongs last time, and now he’ll stretch out while facing winners today. Little doubt he’s the speed of the speed and expect him to be sent to the front and go as fast as he can for as far as he can, but wiring this group seems a little out of reach; know him early, not sure about late.

#6 Captain Obvious: Well-traveled runner adds blinkers after a decent fourth in the Real Quiet in his lone US start to close out his 2yo campaign. He sprinted in his native Ireland last summer and fall and owns a sharp second at this distance over the synthetic at Dundalk, so at least you know the trip is within his scope. His stateside debut wasn’t bad, all things considered, and race winner Liaison came back to win the GI CashCall in his next start, so the race stacks up nicely with what he meets here. With an abundance of speed entered at a tricky distance, he might be the one to pick up the pieces in the lane and spice up your exacta; second best today.


#2 Creative Cause

#6 Captain Obvious

#4 Smoking G

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