Ho hum. Another year, another bevy of Bob Baffert Derby prospects. That was the storyline at Santa Anita on Saturday, as Baffert runners Newgrange and Rockefeller ran one-two throughout in the Grade III, $100,000 Sham Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile, giving him three consecutive wins in the Sham and eight overall. Ridden to victory by John Velazquez, who collected his third stakes win on the fourth day of the meet, Newgrange, who slowed things down nicely, prevailed by 2 ¾ lengths and got the distance in 1:38.32.
With post time favorite Rockefeller drawn to his immediate outside, the Baffert pair were hustled from the gate but quickly settled into nice rhythm, with Newgrange maintaining a one length advantage leaving the three furlong pole and he was in complete command turning for home.
The third choice at 5-2, Newgrange, who was a first-out maiden winner going six furlongs under Velazquez Nov. 28 at Del Mar, paid $7.40.
No match for his stablemate late, Rockefeller held off a fast finishing Oviatt Class by a nose for second and paid $2.60 and $2.20 as the 3-2 favorite with Flavien Prat.
In an encouraging performance, Oviatt Class finished well into slow splits and acts like a colt who could improve with added distance for trainer Keith Desormeaux. Ridden by his brother Kent, Oviatt Class was off at 4-1 and paid $2.40 to show.
Fractions on the race were 24.46, 48.94, 1:12.84 and 1:25.27.
Although any Baffert runners are not now eligible for Kentucky Derby qualifying points, the conditions of the race state that the winner is to receive 10 points, second, four, third, two points and the fourth place finisher, Mackinnon, one point.
Santa Anita Press Release
Photo: Benoit Photo