(Concert Tour winning the G2 Rebel Stakes on Saturday / Coady Photography & Courtesy of Oaklawn Park)

From the Santa Anita Media Team:


To quote Sonny and Cher’s 1967 hit song, The Beat Goes On.  Or so it seems, as Bob Baffert’s powerful group of viable Kentucky Derby prospects gets bigger and stronger every week.

At Oaklawn Park Saturday, Concert Tour stamped himself a major contender with a dominant front-running victory in the Rebel Stakes (giving Baffert his eighth win in the race), while on his home turf of Santa Anita, a half-brother to Baffert’s 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharoah, Triple Tap, won his debut race at seven furlongs by 4 ¼ lengths.

They now join Baffert’s undefeated Kentucky Derby favorite Life Is Good and Medina Spirit and Spielberg in pursuit of the two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer’s seventh Kentucky Derby, which would give him the most ever, breaking a tie with the late H.A. (Jimmy) Jones of Calumet Farm fame.

“He won nice,” Baffert said of Triple Tap after the race. “It looks like he can go two turns easily; I liked what I saw. We don’t want to rush him.”

Ditto for Concert Tour and Rebel runner-up Hozier.

“It was very impressive,” Baffert said Sunday morning of Concert Tour’s 4 ¼-length victory over late-running stablemate Hozier, who finished second in the 1 1/16-mile Rebel. “They came out of it really well and passed the two-turn test with flying colors.

“We’ll get them back here and figure out a game plan.”

(Swiss Skydiver / Coady Photography & Courtesy of Churchill Downs)


Given a text book ride by Robby Albarado and looking every bit a champion, Swiss Skydiver overwhelmed six opponents in Saturday’s Grade I Beholder Mile, winning by 2 ¾ lengths as the 7-5 favorite.

Making her four-year-old debut and her first start since an eventful seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff last Nov. 7, the Eclipse champion three-year-old filly of 2020 broke well from her inside post position, went three-wide leaving the second turn, then surged clear in upper stretch to take down first money of $180,000 for owner Peter Callahan.

The chestnut filly now has earnings of $2,025,480.

“Yes, she met expectations,” trainer Ken McPeek said after the race, “but you never know. The distance was a bit of a worry because of the run into the first turn . . . You can’t force anything with her, and if you go too fast early, she will wilt a little bit.”

There wasn’t a hint of wilting yesterday, just dominance.

McPeek said he is considering one of two races for Swiss Skydiver’s next start, the $1 million Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park on April 17 or the $500,000 La Troienne at Churchill Downs on April 30. Each is a Grade I race at 1 1/16 miles.


Michael McCarthy remained non-committal Sunday morning on whether El Camino Real Derby winner Rombauer’s next race would be the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct or the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby, both at a mile and an eighth on April 3.

Should the son of Twirling Candy make it to the Kentucky Derby on May 1, however, there seems to be enough speed among his prospective rivals to favor his late-running style at the mile and a quarter distance of the Run for the Roses.

“We haven’t made a decision yet,” McCarthy said, while agreeing there are ample front-runners currently in the Triple Crown ranks that could benefit Rombauer’s modus operandi.


FINISH LINES: Trivia questions–Santa Anita presents the 24th running of the Sensational Star Stakes next Sunday. Who rode the durable California-bred gelding for which the race is named in his last start and what trainer and jockey combined to win the first edition of the Sensational Star Stakes in 1998? . . . With rain forecast tomorrow morning, trainers took advantage of Sunday’s dry weather as 305 workouts were recorded, among them a four-furlong breeze of 49.40 by last year’s Eclipse Award-winning female sprinter Gamine trained by Bob Baffert. Multiple graded turf stakes winner Acclimate, prepping for Saturday’s Grade III San Luis Rey Stakes at a mile and a half on grass, went five furlongs in 1:01.40 for Phil D’Amato . . . Trivia answers: Lanfranco “Frankie” Dettori at Hollywood Park on Dec. 8, 1990. Sensational Star, a gelded California-bred son of Inherent Star won a $40,000 claiming race at seven furlongs that day by three-quarters of a length as the 4-5 favorite. The late Mel Stute and Matt Garcia teamed to win the inaugural Sensational Star Stakes in 1998 with Fearless Pirate . . . Santa Anita will be dark Monday through Thursday. Live racing resumes 12:30 p.m. Friday, March 19.