Undefeated ‘TDN Rising Star’ Justify (Scat Daddy), originally scheduled to make his stakes debut in the GI Arkansas Derby Apr. 14 at Oaklawn, will instead stay home to run in this Saturday’s GI Santa Anita Derby, trainer Bob Baffert said Monday. In his place, Baffert will send GII Rebel S. runner-up Solomini (Curlin) to Hot Springs. The shakeup comes after an injury to barn star McKinzie (Street Sense), who was slated to go in the Santa Anita Derby, was discovered Saturday.
Baffert made his decision after Justify worked six furlongs in 1:13 1/5 (2/8) Monday morning at Santa Anita. The chestnut colt is two-for-two so far, having dominated his debut by 9 1/2 lengths Feb. 18 in Arcadia before cruising again going two turns Mar. 11. With zero GI Kentucky Derby qualifying points, he likely will have to win the Santa Anita Derby to ensure himself a spot in the Run for the Roses.
“We’ll run here,” Baffert told the Santa Anita notes team. “He went nice and it looked like he handled it pretty well. As long as he comes out of it well, he runs.”
Solomini, who crossed the wire first in the GI Los Alamitos Derby before being disqualified, ran a quality second in his seasonal debut at Oaklawn and punched his return ticket with a five-furlong work in :59 4/5 (2/82) Monday. Justin Zayat of Zayat Stables confirmed the decision on Twitter shortly thereafter.