March 4, 2024

Californian attracts Baffert runners Country Grammer, Magic On Tap

Country Grammer
Country Grammer wins the 2020 Peter Pan Stakes (photo by Chelsea Durand/Adam Coglianese)

Saturday’s $200,000 Californian S. (G2) at Santa Anita features a pair from the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, Grade 3 winner Country Grammer and recent allowance scorer Magic On Tap.

A field of five is entered for the 1 1/8-mile race, and Country Grammer will make his first start since being transferred to Baffert. Winner of the Peter Pan S. (G2) two back, the four-year-old Tonalist colt exits a fifth in the Travers S. (G1) eight months ago. Abel Cedillo takes over the reins.

Magic On Tap was included in Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager following his scintillating maiden win in September 2018, but the gray five-year-old horse has raced sparingly since then. After making only two more starts in 2019, the son of Tapit returned from an 18-month layoff with a sharp 1 1/2-length allowance tally at Santa Anita on March 28. Umberto Rispoli picks up the mount.

Independence Hall will receive support following a third in the Pegasus World Cup (G1) and a fourth in the Santa Anita H. (G1). A Grade 3 winner, four-year-old Constitution colt earned a field-best 105 Brisnet Speed rating in the Pegasus. Flavien Prat retains the assignment for Michael McCarthy.

Brazilian Grade 1 winner Royal Ship will switch surfaces after rallying to be a close fifth, beaten only a length, in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1). Mike Smith will be up for Richard Mandella. Growth Engine, who will make his second start for John Sadler following a fifth in the March 28 Santana Mile S., completes the field.