I’ll Have Another and Creative Cause came out of the Grade I Santa Anita Derby in good order and it’s on to the Kentucky Derby, albeit on different paths.
Creative Cause is set to ship to Louisville seven days before the Derby, April 28.
“He looks good this morning,” trainer Mike Harrington said of Creative Cause. “He was a little tired but none the worse for wear.”
Plans were undecided Sunday morning for I’ll Have Another, owned by J. Paul Reddam.
“He came out great,” said trainer Doug O’Neill of I’ll Have Another, who edged 4-5 favorite Creative Cause by a nose. “He ate up his dinner, and his legs were ice cold this morning. I’m not sure whether we’ll ship to Kentucky a few weeks out or a week out. Plans haven’t been finalized.”
Mario Gutierrez, meanwhile, earned the mount on Reddam’s Handsome Mike in next Saturday's Grade I Arkansas Derby.
Bob Baffert had three starters. Blueskiesnrainbows set the pace and finished a close third; 9-1 shot Paynter, making only his second career start, finished fourth; while Liaison ran sixth.
“Paynter stumbled at the start and that sort of took him out,” Baffert said. “I was hoping he’d be sitting second or third. Turning for home, I thought maybe he'd be able to pull it off, but I guess Creative Cause kind of ran by. Liaison just never really got untracked.”
Baffert said he'd ship Liaison to Louisville along with fillies Eden’s Moon and Princess Arabella, who are candidates for the Kentucky Oaks on May 4.
“Liaison never has liked this track,” Baffert said. “He ran well yesterday. He broke his maiden here. But he ran better at Hollywood Park. Bejarano never really seemed comfortable on him -- he got stuck on the inside a little.
“Blueskiesnrainbows is the kind of horse that maybe goes to the Belmont. He could run all day. That was a big improvement for him. Paynter ran a really good race. He had some trouble and still figured it out.
“The winner ran a good race. He was in the same spot all the way, and the kid rode a really good race. He was just stalking us, and Creative Cause looked like he was going to open up, and he just cut in between there. He ran fast.”
Joe Talamo had high praise for Blueskiesnrainbows.
“We had an unbelievable trip. He got to the lead and pretty much had the race to himself the whole way. We tried kicking away at the quarter pole, and he really responded well. He just got outrun by two really good horses.
“But I think he’s going to get better from there. He really stepped up from his previous form. For me personally, I’m glad I’m finishing strong this meet after a slow start. That’s horse racing, just up and down. You just have to stick with it.”
--Edited Santa Anita release