(Medina Spirit in front / Photo Courtesy of Santa Anita)

From the Santa Anita Media Team / Ed Golden

MEDINA SPIRIT SET FOR RUNHAPPY SANTA ANITA DERBY

Medina Spirit, twice runner-up to Life Is Good, worked four furlongs Sunday in 48 seconds flat as he prepares to deputize for his undefeated but sidelined stablemate in this Saturday’s Grade I Runhappy Santa Anita Derby.

“He went very nice (under jockey Juan Ochoa),” said Bob Baffert, who is seeking to add to his record of nine Santa Anita Derby victories.

“I also worked Hozier (runner-up to unbeaten stablemate Concert Tour in the March 13 Rebel at Oaklawn Park, five furlongs in 1:00.80), Charlatan (four furlongs in 48 flat) and Gamine (five furlongs in 59.60).”

Life Is Good was favored to win the May 1 Kentucky Derby before a small chip in his left hind ankle was detected following a workout on March 20, forcing him to miss the race and necessitating surgery by Dr. Larry Bramlage at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky. two days ago.

“The surgery went well,” Baffert said. “I received great reports on it. It was minor, so that was good and he should be back (racing) a lot sooner than we thought he would.”

Grade I Malibu Stakes winner Charlatan and Eclipse Award champion female sprinter Gamine are scheduled to run at Churchill Downs on Derby Day, Charlatan in the Grade I Churchill Downs presented by Ford and Gamine in the Grade I Derby City Distaff, both at seven furlongs.

Trainer John Sadler sent Runhappy Santa Anita Derby candidate Rock Your World five furlongs this morning in a bullet 59.20, fastest of 76 drills at the distance, more than two seconds faster than the average time of 1:01.37.

The Runhappy Santa Anita Derby headlines six stakes next Saturday, four of them graded and two showcasing California-bred or sired runners.

In addition to the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby, they are the Grade II Santa Anita Oaks for three-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles; the Grade II Royal Heroine for fillies and mares four and up at one mile on turf; and the Grade III Providencia Stakes for three-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Also, two Golden State Series races, the $150,000 Echo Eddie Stakes for three year olds at 6 ½ furlongs and the $150,000 Evening Jewel Stakes for three-year-old fillies at 6 ½ furlongs.

In all, the six stakes offer $1,750,000 in purse money. Entries for Saturday’s race will be taken on Wednesday.

Saturday’s latest local weather forecasts partly cloudy skies, one percent chance of rain and a high of 78 degrees.

First post time will be 12 noon.