Grade 1 winner Pinehurst, last seen dead-heating for fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), will open his three-year-old season in Saturday’s $200,000 San Vicente S. (G2) at Santa Anita. The bay colt heads a field of five in the seven-furlong test.
One of three entrants for Bob Baffert, Pinehurst rolled to a convincing wire-to-wire win when making his second career start in the Del Mar Futurity (G1). The son of Twirling Candy showed speed before sustaining his first defeat in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and Mike Smith will retake the mount.
Pinehurst’s stablemates, Doppelganger and McLaren Vale, will make their stakes debuts following sharp first-out maiden wins.
After rallying to a 3 1/2-length maiden tally at Los Alamitos in mid-December, Doppelganger will retain the services of Flavien Prat. The bay colt, a $570,000 son of Into Mischief, shows a five-furlong bullet workout in preparation for his first two-turn attempt.
McLaren Vale, who cost $625,000 as a yearling, will stretch to two turns after scoring as the even-money favorite in a Dec. 31 maiden special weight at Santa Anita. A promising prospect for Gun Runner, who easily lead all freshman sires by earnings last year, McLaren Vale should be prominent during the early stages with Abel Cedillo.
After placing in his first two stakes attempts, Forbidden Kingdom merits respect for Richard Mandella. The American Pharoah colt, a wire-to-wire debut scorer, finished third when trying stakes foes and turf in the Speakeasy S. the second time out. Switching back to main track for Nov. 14 Bob Hope S. (G3) at Del Mar, Forbidden Kingdom set the pace before weakening in the stretch to second, and he figures to be showing speed from his innermost post Saturday with Juan Hernandez.
What in Blazes, unraced since defeating California-bred maiden rivals in mid-July, completes the lineup.