Shirreffs' A.P. Warrior wins San Felipe Stakes
Like Now, a 36-1 long shot, captured the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct.
Trainer John Shirreffs is back on the Kentucky Derby trail.
A year after winning the Derby with 50-1 long shot Giacomo, Shirreffs' A.P. Warrior won the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita and looks to be on his way to Churchill Downs.
A.P. Warrior, who finished fourth in his last two races before owner Stan Fulton sent his $1.3 million colt to Shirreffs' barn, held off two 3-year-olds trained by Bob Baffert -- Point Determined was second and Bob and John was third.
In other Derby preps Saturday, 36-1 long shot Like Now upset Achilles of Troy in the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct, Deputy Glitters surprised 2-5 favorite Bluegrass Cat in the Tampa Bay Derby and Lawyer Ron won his fifth straight by taking the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
A.P. Warrior's final prep will be the Santa Anita Derby on April 8; Like Now and Gotham runner-up are headed to the Wood Memorial on April 8 and Bluegrass Cat may run next in the Blue Grass Stakes on April 15.
The Kentucky Derby is May 6.
Like Now cruised into the Kentucky Derby picture with a huge upset in the Gotham Stakes.
The 3-year-old gelding never gave an inch in a wire-to-wire victory over Keyed Entry, winning by a neck.
Achilles of Troy, the 3-2 favorite, broke slowly from the gate, was never in contention and finished fifth. Jockey Ramon Dominguez pulled up his Derby prospect around the clubhouse turn, and the colt was vanned off the Aqueduct track in a horse ambulance. The early report from the chief examining veterinarian was a sore right front leg.
Like Now gives trainer Kiaran McLaughlin another Derby contender, although this one might not go off at the same long odds as his last one. A year ago, McLaughlin's Closing Argument was second to Giacomo in the Derby at odds of 71-1.
Ridden by Fernando Jara, Like Now covered the 1 1-16 miles in 1:43.17 and returned $74.50, $22.20 and $10.20. The victory was the third straight for Like Now, owned by John Dillon.
Keyed Entry, a winner in his first three starts for trainer Todd Pletcher, made a late bid but came up a neck short and paid $3.70 and $3.20. Sweetsouthernsaint was third and paid $5.10.
Keyed Entry, with Edgar Prado aboard, remains on schedule for the Derby, and could run next in the Wood Memorial.
Tampa Bay Derby
Deputy Glitters turned the tables on favorite Bluegrass Cat by winning the Tampa Bay Derby. Bluegrass Cat, the 2-5 favorite who defeated Deputy Glitters in the Sam F. Davis last month, made a late run but Deputy Glitters pulled away for a two-length victory. Bluegrass Cat came into the race with four straight wins after finishing eighth in his first race. He won the Remsen Stakes to close out his 2-year-old campaign and then won the Sam F. Davis on Feb. 18.
Lawyer Ron continued his winning streak by capturing the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Red Raymond, also trained by Holthus, finished second and paid $11.80 and $4.80. Steppenwolfer, which was a close second to Lawyer Ron in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn on Feb. 25, finished third and paid $2.60.
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