Treasury Bill will make his stakes debut in an attempt to campaign for a spot… (Benoit Photo / Associated…)
There are richer and more important races ahead for Treasury Bill, a 3-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid who will be making his stakes debut Sunday in the $150,000 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita.
Trainer Ron Ellis has high aspirations for a horse that likes to race from far back and come charging down the stretch. That's why Ellis was surprised that Treasury Bill won a 61/2-furlong maiden sprint in his second race on Jan. 27.
It's in two-turn races that Treasury Bill figures to be at his best, so Ellis isn't going to put a lot of pressure into winning Sunday's seven-furlong stakes that has just six entrants, including three horses trained by Bob Baffert — Belvin, War Academy and Shakin It Up.
This time of year is about getting Treasury Bill more racing experience in preparation for the big 3-year-old races in March and April on the road to the ultimate goal of an appearance in the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May.
"I've liked him all along," Ellis said.
Treasury Bill is owned by Gary and Mary West, who also own the promising Baffert-trained Flashback. It will be up to the Wests to decide how to manage Treasury Bill to avoid racing against Flashback for as long as possible. That's likely to result in Treasury Bill's next start occurring out of town, possibly at Oaklawn Park
What's certain is Ellis can't wait to give Treasury Bill a shot at racing beyond the sprint distance.
"They won't be questioning if he can get a mile and a quarter," Ellis said.