By Dick Downey
Shakin It Up found himself in a little trouble while running in a short field, but he extracted himself from it in time to win the Grade II San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita.
Belvin, who broke from post 1, was on the early engine and took the field up the backstretch in splits of :22.88 and :45.62, with Caballo del Cielo in closest pursuit. Shakin It Up stalked in fifth, then third, about three, then 1 1/2 lengths back. Treasury Bill, looking inexperienced, trailed the field of six, seven lengths off the pace at the first call and four back at the second.
Going into the turn, Caballo del Ceilo took on Belvin. With a furlong left, he had the lead, while Belvin began a retreat. Around the bend, Shakin It Up and David Flores found themselves behind horses, but a seam opened after they straightened out. Shakin It Up took that opportunity to charge through while Treasury Bill and Joe Talamo went the overland route.
Shakin It Up outsprinted Treasury Bill to the finish line, timed in 1:22.48 and prevaiing by a length. Caballo del Cielo stayed on for third, beaten 1 3/4 length. Finishing behind him were War Academy, Mudflats and Belvin. Only 2 3/4 lengths separated the entire field at the finish.
Belvin was the 9-5 favorite. Shakin It Up, trained by Bob Baffert, was the post-time second choice at 2-1 and paid $6.40, $3.80 and $2.80. Treasury Bill was the 4-1 third choice.
The San Vicente isn't a points race for the Kentucky Derby, but the top two finishers, if not others, are expected to move on down the Derby Trail in search of standing to make the starting gate.
It was the fourth career start for Shakin It Up. After he broke his maiden at second asking on Oct. 27 at Santa Anita, he finished a close third behind Really Mr Greely and Super Ninety Nine in the Grade III Hollywood Prevue in November. That was followed by a series of three works, then time off to recover from a minor setback, followed by four more workouts for the San Vicente.
Ron Ellis said before the San Vicente that two turns will be next on the radar for Treasury Bill.
Shakin It Up was bred in Kentucky by Mike Pegram and is owned by Pegram and Dennis A. Cardoza. He's a son of Midnight Lute, whom Pegram campaigned, and is out of the Vindication mare Silver Bullet Moon.
CONNECTIONS QUOTES PENDING
David Flores, winning rider: “He put me in a spot I wasn’t expecting. He put me in the race right away, so I just had to be patient and wait for the pocket to open, and that’s pretty much what happened. When I asked him to go he accelerated, a tremendous acceleration. I say (he can go) a mile and a quarter. That will be Baffert’s job. All I have to do is do the right thing on the horse when I get on him. I want to thank Bob and Mike Pegram and all the rest of the crew; it’s amazing to be on a horse like this. I still go to the mountains to keep myself in great shape because you never know when it’s going to come. You have to be prepared for a horse like this.”
Bob Baffert, winning trainer: "(David’s) done well with him, and I was sort of mad at myself for taking him off (in the Hollywood Prevue). I was trying to help Martin out a little bit, but I put David back on and he gets along with him pretty well.
"I really don’t know (what's next). He was sort of fresh today. I didn’t really have him super-cranked up for the race, but we’ve always thought highly of him, so we’ll just find something for him, I don’t know.”
Joe Talamo, aboard Treasury Bill: “He finished real strong. I was real proud of him from coming out of a maiden race to run a race like this today. He was kind of dragging me up there today, which I like, because he usually gets off the bit the last part and comes running, but I thought that was a great effort today."
Ron Ellis, trainer of Treasury Bill: “He started to pull Joe a little earlier than I thought he would down the backside. He got up a little bit closer and got forced a bit wide, but he ran hard, he ran game. I didn’t really think he could compete with these kind of horses going seven furlongs, so I’m very happy.
“The plan was, timing wise, was a month from now, go to the Rebel at Oaklawn. I think we might go there. The West’s have Flashback, who will run in the races here, so they don’t want to hook them up together. So the plan is to go to the Rebel.”
Rafael Bejano, aboard Belvin: “He broke good and I didn’t have a problem getting the lead because the pace was really slow for these kinds of horses. I had a little pressure from the other horse (Caballo Del Cielo), but my horse relaxed and I gave him a lot of chance to run in the stretch, but I think my horse doesn’t want to go that far.”