Indianapolis and Tanzanite Cat were the winners of important Kentucky Derby preps on Monday's Martin Luther King holiday card. Both showed enough to advance toward Kentucky Derby 140 on May 3 at Churchill Downs in Louisville.
But Indianapolis, by virtue of pedigree and ownership, sparked exceptional interest. The Medaglia d'Oro colt won like the good thing he's bred to be in Monday's $75,000 San Pedro Stakes at Santa Anita. After tracking the pace, Indianapolis picked things up around the turn and kicked clear, winning by 4 1/2 lengths.
With Martin Garcia up for trainer Bob Baffert and Coolmore ownership team, Indianapolis remained undefeated in two starts, finishing 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:08.80.
Papa Turf was second and Beach Hut, another Baffert trainee but owned by Juddmonte Farms, finished 2 3/4 lengths farther back in third.
"We always thought he has superstar status and he proved it today," Baffert said of Indianapolis. "From now on, hopefully until the first Saturday in May, we'll put him on a schedule that will stretch him out ... keep him healthy and happy."
At Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., Tanzanite Cat dueled for the lead in Monday's $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes, finally turned back the stubborn Walt and finally edged clear to win by 1 1/4 lengths over that rival. The favorite, Coastline, coasted in third.
Tanzanite Cat, a Graeme Hall colt, ran the mile on a fast track in 1:38.69 in an early local test for the $1 million, Grade I Arkansas Derby on April 12. Norberto Arroyo Jr. had the mount for trainer Cody Autrey.
Tanzanite Cat finished third in his debut at Del Mar last August, then wasn't seen again until he won a maiden race at Fair Grounds in New Orleans a month ago in his last start, also going 1 mile on the dirt.
The colt moved into an eight-way tie for the fifth spot on the Kentucky Derby candidates' leader board by earning 10 points in the Smarty Jones. The points are used to determine starters in the Run for the Roses if more than the maximum 20 are entered.
At Aqueduct in New York, Hot Heir Skier was bumped around at the start of Monday's $100,000 Jimmy Winkfield Stakes, recovered got by Oliver Zip in the late going to win by a half length over that rival. Charleymillionaire made a late run from last to take third, just another head in arrears.
Hot Heir Skier, a Wildcat Heir colt, ran 6 furlongs on the fast inner track in 1:11.25 with Jose Ortiz riding.
Winning trainer Ben Perkins Jr. wasn't too excited about Hot Heir Skier's performance -- his second straight win after finishing second in his career debut.
"I had told Jose he's got a real good turn of foot when you ask him," Perkins said, "and he did. He just ran away from those horses."
Hot Heir Skier has never run farther than 6 furlongs.
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