Derby hopefuls Arabian Knight, Reincarnate get in works

March 9, 2023

Reincarnate winning the Sham over Newgate by a neck. (Benoit Photo)

• Promising Spirit Of Makena Gets Stakes Test In GII San Carlos
• With 6-Win Week, D’Amato Ties Baffert In Trainer’s Standings
• Moonlite In Heaven Wins Sunday For NHC Table 24
• Coast-To-Coast Pick 5 Returns Saturday

Stable Notes By Victor Ryan

ARCADIA, Calif.—With rain forecast for Santa Anita this weekend, top 3-year-old Arabian Knight stayed ahead of the weather Thursday with a six-furlong work just five days after his previous drill for Tim Yakteen.

Unbeaten Arabian Knight completed Thursday’s move in 1:13.60 on a track listed as fast. Last Saturday, the Uncle Mo colt worked five furlongs in 59.20 seconds, which was the third-fastest of 71 moves at the distance. That drill came following a 19-day gap between works for Arabian Knight.

Also working for Yakteen Thursday was Reincarnate, the Grade III Sham winner who most recently was a troubled third in the Grade II Rebel at Oaklawn Park Feb. 25. The Good Magic colt worked four furlongs in 47.60 seconds.

“Both horses worked great this morning,” Yakteen said via text message. “Very routine and very happy.”

In this weekend’s Kentucky Derby Future Wager, Arabian Knight is the 10-1 second choice on the morning line behind only Grade II Fountain of Youth winner Forte for trainer Todd Pletcher. Reincarnate is listed at 30-1.

Arabian Knight is a perfect 2-for-2 for Zedan Racing, who purchased the colt for $2.3 million at last year’s OBS Spring Sale of 2-year-old in training. He won his debut by 7 ¼-lengths at Keeneland on Nov. 6 and returned Jan. 28 to win the Grade III Southwest by 5 ½ lengths at Oaklawn Park.

Yakteen previously stated Arabian Knight was probable to run in the Grade I Runhappy Santa Anita Derby on April 8 while Reincarnate is likely ticketed for the Grade I Arkansas Derby on April 1. Both would likely need to finish in the top-two to earn a berth in this year’s Kentucky Derby.

Promising Spirit Of Makena Gets Stakes Test In GII San Carlos

While Spirit of Makena hasn’t run often, he’s certainly run well in three starts for trainer George Papaprodromou. On Saturday, the 5-year-old homebred for Bruce Chandler will make his stakes debut against five rivals in the Grade II San Carlos going seven furlongs.

The belated unveiling of Spirit of Makena came Aug. 5 at Del Mar when he dominated a maiden special weight going six furlongs on dirt. He returned five weeks later in a first-level allowance going a mile at Del Mar Sept. 11 and while beaten a head by Holden the Lute, who also runs in the San Carlos, the effort returned a 94 Beyer Speed Figure.

Spirit of Makena was given the rest of the year off, but then made it two wins in three starts here Feb. 11 when winning a six-furlong allowance in a swift 1:08.60. That effort returned a 98 Beyer Speed Figure, which puts him squarely in contention for the San Carlos.

“He came out of that race good and has continued to do well,” Papaprodromou said Thursday morning from Clocker’s Corner. “Obviously we’re stepping into a stakes race, and it will be tougher, but hopefully he does well.”

Spirit of Makena drew post No. 3 and will be ridden by Joe Bravo, who was aboard for last month’s win. They’ll certainly be tested in their initial stakes foray. In addition to Holden the Lute, looming in the San Carlos is Forbidden Kingdom, the expected morning-line favorite following a good second to Taiba in the Grade I Malibu on Dec. 26 for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella; and Grade I-placed Get Her Number for trainer Peter Miller.

The San Carlos goes as the fifth race on Saturday’s nine-race card, which begins at 12:30 p.m. 

With 6-Win Weekend, D’Amato Ties Baffert In Trainer’s Standings
Trainer Phil D’Amato posted three wins last Saturday and added three more on Sunday to draw level with Bob Baffert at the top of the Santa Anita trainer’s standings.

Phil D’Amato. (Benoit)

D’Amato and Baffert each have 21 wins at the Classic Meet entering Thursday’s action, which is two more than Doug O’Neill in third. On Saturday, D’Amato won a maiden special weight on turf with Conclude ($3.60), a turf allowance with Cash Equity ($8.20) and the Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile with Gold Phoenix ($23.60).

On Sunday, D’Amato added his ninth stakes win of the meet, which is one fewer than Baffert, with Motorious ($5.00) in the Grade III San Simeon. He also won an allowance on turf with Buzz of New York ($2.60) and a maiden race on dirt with Cliquish ($4.40).

D’Amato has been the leading trainer at the past two Santa Anita winter-spring meets. Last year, he won 63 races to finish well clear of O’Neill, who checked in second with 40.   

Moonlite In Heaven Wins Sunday For NHC Table 24 Racing

The ownership group NHC Table 24 is hoping Moonlite in Heaven’s win in Sunday’s fourth race is a prelude of big things to come at this weekend’s National Horseplayers Championship in Las Vegas.

Led by Matt Malley, the listed breeder of Moonlite in Heaven, NHC Table 24 is an ever-evolving group of owners whose charter members first met when they shared the same table at the 2014 National Handicapping Championship. One original member, John O’Neil, won the NHC the following year.

This year’s NHC kicks off Friday at Horseshoe Las Vegas with approximately 750 entries. The overall winner will receive a grand prize estimated to be $750,000 plus an Eclipse Award as Horseplayer of the Year.


The player-friendly Coast-to-Coast Pick 5 returns Saturday with two races from Santa Anita and three from Gulfstream Park. The sequence begins with the ninth race from Gulfstream at 1:36 p.m

Every Friday during the Classic meet, on-track patrons will receive free admission and parking, as well as $3 beers and $5 margaritas….

Santa Anita will host a Cornhole Festival on Saturday, March 18 from noon to 6 p.m…

Entering Thursday, favorites have won at 33.98 percent clip at the Classic Meet.

Incredible run by @PastTheWire continues with a 4/1 winner in GP 5th Race!!!

Rick St. Pierre @rstp354 View testimonials