Derby Contention Still Up in the Air
Rebounding by the slimmest of margins, only a nose, Drill earned a much-needed win after finishing out of the money in four consecutive races. Even though his narrow defeat over American Act came in the San Vicente, a Santa Anita Derby and Kentucky Derby Prep, the decision that Drill will move on to either of these races is not one that trainer Bob Baffert is going to rush into. For the time being Drill is still a one turn horse that will need to prove to his connections over the coming weeks that he is ready to go long.
Last September is when Drill burst onto the scene. His win in the 7 Furlong Del Mar Futurity over Creative Cause who finished 3rd in the San Vicente was impressive. The victory led him to his first ever race over 7 Furlongs, the 1 1/16 Mile Norfolk at Santa Anita where Creative Cause would strike back. Although Drill finished 2nd there wasn’t an overwhelming reason to believe that the powerful form that he had displayed in sprints could not be carried over into two turn races. But that however was not the case.
After the Norfolk Stakes he entered the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and finished a disappointing 10th. Keeping him racing at a distance of 1 1/16 Mile was still not a good fit for Drill as he again failed to fire in his next two starts at that distance: 7th in the Delta Downs Jackpot and 9th in the CashCall Futurity.
At the beginning of the year it was not a surprise that Baffert sent him out for this 3-yr-old debut in the San Pedro, a 6 1/2 furlong sprint. The 5th place finish proved to be a warm up for the San Vicente. His bounce back at Santa Anita and strong finish down the stretch proves that the talent is definitely still there. So then again the only question is if he can race longer and if so – can he win? We’ll see.
Did Creative Cause get Drilled?
From one perspective he absolutely did. From the way it looks in relation to his Kentucky Derby trail on the other hand there isn’t any cause for concern. Creative Cause returned to his barn in good condition and his connections got what they needed from this Santa Anita Derby prep.
Based on the history of his races against Drill he’s never likely to win against him at any distance less than 1 Mile. But as they galloped out after the wire it’s also clear that Drill is going to have improve a great deal before he can get the best of Creative Cause at any distance greater than 1 Mile.
Creative Cause is a two turn horse that will most likely move forward from the San Vicente in a big way. The trail that certain Kentucky Derby contenders take is very well thought out by the horse’s connections and doesn’t need to include a win in a 7 Furlong sprint. Now that his 3-yr-old season is officially underway what’s more important surrounding Creative Cause’s Kentucky Derby trail is how he races next.
Likely trail for Creative Cause: G2 San Felipe at Santa Anita, 1 1/16 Mile on March 10. Santa Anita Derby, 1 1/8 Mile on April 7.
Late scratches by Smoking G and Captain Obvious reduced the field down to four. Facing graded stakes competition and race winners for the very first time, American Act broke to the front and led the field through the opening quarter in 22.78 and half in 45.83. Midway through the stretch is where Drill seized control of the race but American Act wasn’t ready to give. Battling back he almost retook the lead after a deep bid to the wire put him only a nose behind Drill.
Entering after a maiden win in January at Santa Anita and now earning his first ever graded stakes prize money it will be interesting to see where American Act will go next. Here are the official results for the 2012 San Vicente Stakes
G2 San Vicente Stakes | Purse $150,000 | 7 Furlongs | Dirt | Track: Fast – Time 1:21.28
- 3 Drill $9.60 $5.00
- 5 American Act $4.00
- 2 Creative Cause
$1 Exacta $19.40 $1 Trifecta $29.90
Also ran: Let’s Get Crackin. The official race chart via Equibase
Congratulations to Drill and his connections. It’s good to see him rebound and will be exciting to see if he stays on the Kentucky Derby trail. As for Creative Cause there’s still more to see and it will make the San Felipe all the more talked about and anticipated.
Written by: Little Brink