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HORSE RACING

Bob Baffert has more Kentucky Derby options

Take Control, a product of two horses of the year, wins a mile maiden race at Santa Anita.

December 31, 2009|Eric Sondheimer
  • Take Control, ridden by Martin Garcia, wins his debut by 1ƒŠ1/2Ĥ lengths in a mile race.
Take Control, ridden by Martin Garcia, wins his debut by 1ƒŠ1/2Ĥ… (Benoit Photo )

When it comes to horse breeding, the 2-year-old Take Control should be at the top of any list.

His father is A.P. Indy, the 1992 horse of the year. His mother is Azeri, the 2002 horse of the year. And on a drizzly Wednesday afternoon in his racing debut, Take Control made his parents proud.

Rallying from last place entering the stretch, Take Control won a mile maiden race at Santa Anita by 1 1/2 lengths to give Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert yet another candidate to be on the Kentucky Derby trail in 2010.

Take Control, purchased for $1.9 million in April by Kaleem S. Shah at the Keeneland sales in Kentucky, galloped out after crossing the finish line in 1 minute 37.64 seconds, giving every indication he'd like to run the Derby distance of 1 1/4 miles and longer.

He ran greenly but sprinted past Ivory Fudge at the finish under left-handed whipping from jockey Martin Garcia.

"It was pretty impressive," said Baffert, whose group of soon-to-be 3-year-olds is headed by Eclipse Award contender Lookin At Lucky. "He settled well, went through a lot of traffic and got there."

One race earlier, Baffert had another impressive 2-year-old winner in Tiny Woods, who won the six-furlong race in 1:08.89 under the red-hot Garcia. Finishing fourth in the race was odds-on favorite Sidney's Candy.

Baffert has plenty of options for his growing number of talented young horses, but Take Control has a special place in Baffert's barn.

"I've never had one bred horse of the year top to bottom," he said.

Now the challenge is getting his horses ready for the big stakes ahead. "We just have to keep them all healthy and see what happens," he said.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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