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SANTA ANITA : Sir Hutch Gets First Victory in a Stakes, the Potrero Grande

March 13, 1994|BOB MIESZERSKI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Helped by the hot, dry conditions that sped up the Santa Anita main track and aided front-runners all day, Sir Hutch became a stakes winner for the first time with a one-length victory over favored Concept Win in the 6 1/2-furlong, $106,100 Potrero Grande Handicap Saturday.

Purchased for $200,000 by Bob Baffert, the most the trainer has ever spent for a yearling, Sir Hutch won for the third time in eight starts and gave jockey Pat Valenzuela his second stakes victory of the 58-day-old meeting.

In a field reduced to five after the scratch of Bengal Bay, Sir Hutch, the fourth longest shot in the field at 7-2, drew clear immediately, opened up three lengths after a 43 4/5 half-mile and still led by two after a 1:07 4/5 six furlongs.

"I told all my assistants today, if he's going to be a Breeders' Cup horse, he better beat this field," Baffert said. "If he doesn't, I'm going to be totally disappointed.

"He's never trained up to a race like he did today. He's learning how to run. I could have run him (in a softer spot), but when a horse is doing that well, why waste it? I'd rather take a shot in a $100,000 race and get to talk to you guys afterward."

Concept Win, who started from the rail, finished a neck in front of Furiously as the 7-5 favorite.

"I just wish I could have traded post positions (with Sir Hutch)," said Concept Win's jockey, Gary Stevens. "I had to drive him from the beginning, couldn't get him out and he wouldn't run more than three-quarters speed behind those other horses."

*

The appeal of the disqualification of The Wicked North in the Santa Anita Handicap, originally scheduled to be heard Saturday, has been postponed.

Attorneys representing Philip Hersh, The Wicked North's owner, and trainer David Bernstein requested a continuance and it was granted by the California Horse Racing Board.

Tom Ward, one of the three stewards at Santa Anita, said the appeal probably will be heard the week of April 17.

*

Lakeway, unbeaten in three starts, is the 4-5 favorite in the $200,000 Santa Anita Oaks today.

Winner of the Grade I Las Virgenes three weeks ago, the 3-year-old Seattle Slew filly might have only four opponents in the 1 1/16-mile Oaks. Lakeway's stablemate, Beautiful Gem, perfect in two starts, probably will be scratched.

Kent Desormeaux will again be aboard the favorite, who worked six furlongs in a bullet 1:12 2/5 last Tuesday.

Fancy 'N Fabulous, a maiden who has been second in consecutive stakes, is the 3-1 second choice. Alex Solis will ride.

The other entrants are Tulgey Wood, Dianes Halo and Flying In The Lane, who will try two turns for the first time after winning two of three sprints.

Horse Racing Notes

Brocco and Valiant Nature, scheduled to make their 1994 debuts in next Sunday's San Felipe Stakes, will work this morning. Brocco will work either six or seven furlongs and Valiant Nature will work a mile. . . . Jockeys Kent Desormeaux and Fernando Valenzuela won twice and trainer Bob Hess Jr. had two victories. . . . Trainer Bob Baffert said Argolid will work this morning and if he comes out of it well, will be shipped to Louisiana for Saturday's Louisiana Derby.

Southern Rhythm, ridden by Garrett Gomez, won the $100,000 Southwest Stakes for 3-year-olds at Oaklawn Park by 2 1/2 lengths. He covered one mile in 1:36 4/5 and paid $11, $5.40 and $3.20. Dish It Out paid $6.80 and $4.20 and Polar Expedition returned $2.80. . . . Prank Call won the $100,000 Bay Shore at Aqueduct by three-quarters of a length, paying $15.60, $8 and $4.40. Mr. Shawklit paid $8.20 and $5.20 and Popol's Gold returned $2.60. Prank Call covered six furlongs in 1:09 4/5.

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