The 2012 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita Park this Saturday, March 10

Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California

The San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita Park this Saturday, March 10 may be the most competitive 2012 Kentucky Derby prep race that we have seen. The defection of Out of Bounds and Fed Ex still leave the rest of the field is ready to go, led by grade I winners Creative Cause and Liaison.

Trainer Mike Harrington entered both Creative Cause and Empire Way. Creative Cause will be ridden from post 7 by Joel Rosario while Empire Way drew the far outside post and will be have Brice Blanc aboard for the first time. Both colts are owned by Heinz Steinmann but will be separate betting interests.

“Creative Cause, he’s a stalker, and I expect quite a bit of pace in the race, and so he’ll be mid-pack,” Harrington said March 6. “Empire Way, he doesn’t need to be last, but he is going to be further back in the field. You know, they have completely different styles, so they’re not going to interfere with each other.” Harrington has said he is not concerned with either horse going longer distances.

“Really the only reason I’m running them both in the same race is because of the timing,” the trainer said. “I had a plan for Creative Cause from the very beginning, which included this race, and Empire Way, I don’t really want to ship him out of town at this point in time, plus the timing is right on him also.”

Trainer Bob Baffert also has two colts entered, Liaison and Bodemeister. The trainer was disappointed that he could not enter Fed Biz, who was expected to start in his first stakes event after a pair of impressive victories at the meet. “It’s nothing serious,” said Baffert of the decision to delay Fed Biz. “He tied up a little.”

Groovin’ Solo is owned, bred, and trained by Myung Kwon Cho, who won last year’s San Felipe Stakes.

This is also a big test for Rousing Sermon who is trained by Northern Californian Jerry Hollendorfer and ridden by Joe Talamo.

Warren B. Williamson’s Midnight Transfer and Howard and Janet Siegel’s American Act are highly regarded and must be considered legitimate threats to upset.

Recently gelded Blingo comes to the San Felipe Stakes with the same connections as did Giacomo in 2005. Giacomo went from a second-place finish in the San Felipe to running fourth in the Santa Anita Derby before pulling off a 50-1 upset in the 2005 Kentucky Derby under Mike Smith.

Rounding out the field is Diamond A Racing’s homebred Tiz Point, ridden by Garrett Gomez, who is returning from a broken heel in January that has kept him sidelined.

Who will start thinking about 2012 Kentucky Derby tickets after the race?

San Felipe Stakes
Post position, Horse, Jockey, Trainer Equipment changes
1. Blingo (KY), M E Smith, J A Shirreffs
2. Bodemeister (VA), R Bejarano,, B Baffert
3. American Act (KY), M A Pedroza, J Carava
4. Midnight Transfer (KY), V Espinoza, C Gaines
5. Groovin’ Solo (KY), A Quinonez, M K Cho Blinkers off
6. Liaison (KY), M Garcia, B Baffert Blinkers off
7. Creative Cause (KY), J Rosario, M Harrington
8. Rousing Sermon (CA), J Talamo, J Hollendorfer
9. Tiz Point (KY), G K Gomez, R E Mandella
10. Empire Way (KY), B Blanc, M Harrington
Watch HRTV and TVG for race coverage on TV.