An authoritative wire-to-wire winner of the Nov. 7 Nashua S. (G3), Rockefeller will be the one to beat in Saturday’s $100,000 Sham S. (G3). Five are set for the mile race, the first of four qualifiers in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series at Santa Anita.
Rockefeller will be joined in the starting gate by Newgrange, a sharp debut winner at Del Mar in late November. Both runners appear to be training forwardly in preparation for Bob Baffert, but neither is eligible to earn points toward a Kentucky Derby berth.
Mackinnon, who will switch from turf to dirt for two-time Kentucky Derby winner Doug O’Neill, is a contender from off the pace. A rallying third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), the American Pharoah colt reeled off three straight victories before his last outing. Juan Hernandez guides the late runner.
Oviatt Class, third in the American Pharoah (G1) two back, also brings a late kick. The Keith Desormeaux-trained colt exits a fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). Degree of Risk, third in the Summer (G1) on Woodbine’s turf and second most recently in the Gold Rush S. on Golden Gate Fields’ Tapeta, rounds out the field.