Baffert Holds Strong Hand in San Vicente

DoppelgangerBenoit

Bob Baffert has won Santa Anita's GII San Vicente S. 11 times and has a pretty good chance to secure his 12th victory Saturday when he saddles three of the five runners entered in this year's renewal. Leading that trio is last term's GI Del Mar Futurity S. winner Pinehurst (Twirling Candy). A debut winner at the seaside oval Aug. 1, the bay went wire-to-wire for a 4 1/2-length score in the Sept. 6 Futurity, but could only manage fifth behind stablemate and likely champion Corniche (Quality Road) in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile at that oval Nov. 5. Pinehurst ran a strong number in his debut–an 86 Beyer Speed Figure–but could not repeat that in his next two outings, running a 79 and 78, respectively.

The only other contender to best those recent figures is one of his barnmates, Doppelganger (Into Mischief). The $570,000 FTKSEL buy posted an 80 Beyer when earning the 'TDN Rising Star' nod in his debut at Los Alamitos Dec. 11. Completing the Baffert group is $625,000 KEESEP purchase McLaren Vale (Gun Runner), who wired his unveiling at this oval Dec. 31.

Rounding out the field is GIII Bob Hope S. runner-up Forbidden Kingdom (American Pharoah) and What in Blazes (Straight Fire), who was last seen demolishing a Cal-bred maiden at Del Mar back in July for Jerry Hollendorfer. He enters this race under trainer John Sadler.

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