Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Pamplemousse To Race In The Santa Anita Derby

One of the leading Kentucky Derby contenders, The Pamplemousse is an early favorite for the 72nd running of the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (G1) on April 4 at Santa Anita Park.

The 2009 Santa Anita Derby at 1 1/8 miles is one of the major prep races for the Kentucky Derby 135 on May 2 at Churchill Downs.

“He’ll definitely be the (morning line) favorite,” said Jeff Tufts, who has been providing program odds at Southern California tracks for some 30 years.

The son of Kafwain, The Pamplemousse is unbeaten in 3 route races after losing his first 2 starts in sprints. The gray ghost trained by Julio Canani broke his maiden last Dec. 14 at Hollywood Park, winning by nearly 3 lengths going 1 1/16 miles. The Pamplemousse captured the San Rafael Stakes (G3) at one mile next out Jan. 17 on Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride, and came back with a wire to wire score by six lengths in the Sham Stakes (G3) at 1 1/8 miles Feb. 28.

Also one of the leading Kentucky Derby entries, Pioneerof the Nile, whose running style contrasts vividly from that of The Pamplemousse, figures to be the second choice, even though he has been favored in his last 3 races, each a stakes victory.

Trained by Bob Baffert, Pioneerof the Nile was the 7-5 choice winning the CashCall Futurity (G1) by a nose over I Want Revenge last Dec. 20 at Hollywood Park; the 17-10 favorite when he won the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita on Feb. 7; and the 3-10 choice winning the San Felipe Stakes (G2) on March 14.

Chocolate Candy, the odds-on favorite winning his last 2 stakes at Golden Gate Fields, looms the third choice.

Probable Santa Anita Derby entries are: Chocolate Candy, jockey Joel Rosario; Feisty Suances, no rider; Mr. Hot Stuff, Corey Nakatani; The Pamplemousse, Alex Solis; and Pioneerof the Nile, Garrett Gomez.

Horse racing news edited from www.santaanita.com

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