Garrett Gomez to ride Flashback in Santa Anita Derby
Bob Baffert will look to Garrett Gomez to guide Flashback in the Santa Anita Derby on April 6, replacing Julien Leparoux.
Leparoux was criticized by jockey Kevin Krigger, aboard Goldencents, after the San Felipe. Both Flashback and Goldencents engaged in a swift early duel that set up for the winner, Hear the Ghost. Flashback finished second and Goldencents was fourth.
Gomez piloted Tiz a Minister to a third place finish in that race.
Gomez will be aboard another Derby hopeful, Todd Pletcher’s Delhomme, in Saturday’s Rebel Stakes.
All systems go for the Lukas trainees
D. Wayne Lukas will send Oxbow and Will Take Charge in Saturday’s Rebel Stakes. Last year, his talented colt Optimizer finished second to Secret Circle.
“They’re excellent and all good to go this morning,” Lukas said of his duo. “They came out of their works in good order. I spoke to Mike (Smith) briefly last week. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a lot of conversation with a rider like him. I’m just going to put him on the horse and send him out there.”
Rebel absentees explained
Robert Yates of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports So Raise Yourglass, who was expected for the Rebel, needs time and will be off until the summer.
The Daily Racing Form’s Mary Rampellini reports Always in a Tiz, originally pointing to the Rebel, is back in New York at trainer Dominick Schettino’s stable. http://www.drf.com/news/oaklawn-always-tiz-back-new-york
McGaughey excited about the future for Orb
It’s tough to imagine Shug McGaughey getting a serious case of Kentucky Derby fever, but the veteran trainer admits he’s excited about the future prospects for Fountain of Youth winner Orb.
“Like I said after the Fountain of Youth, I wake up every morning thinking of winning the Kentucky Derby,” he said. “I wish I’d won it a long time ago so I wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore. The reason I don’t get Derby Fever is that I want to take the right horse. Maybe I made a mistake or two not taking them, but I really can’t look back and say that I did. I’m looking forward to the experience. I’m looking forward to two Saturdays from now.”
The son of Malibu Moon is developing at just the right time and boasts a three-race win streak heading into the Florida Derby on March 30.
“Not that I didn’t think that he had a chance to be a decent horse, but it’s just how quick he’s become a decent horse,” McGaughey said. “After he broke his maiden, he just put it all together. Winning and growing up and getting his gate experience behind him, it just sort of mentally came together.”
According to a Gulfstream Park press release, McGaughey has saddled only six horses for starts in the Derby since 1984 and none since 2002, when Saarland finished 10th. Easy Goer finished second behind Sunday Silence in both the Derby and Preakness before winning the Belmont in 1989.