Den's Legacy, taken off the Triple Crown trail by trainer Bob Baffert after a sixth-place finish in the Arkansas Derby, should find the company more to his liking in the $100,000 Affirmed Handicap June 2 at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Westrock Stables' Medaglia d'Oro colt is one of eight 3-year-olds entered in the 1 1/16-mile Cushion Track event. The Affirmed is race 8 on the Sunday program with a scheduled post time of 4:35 p.m. PDT.
In spite of much past success, Baffert has made little impact on this year's Triple Crown series with Den's Legacy among several prospects that did not pan out over the prep season. The Hall of Fame conditioner also plans to start Manando as he goes for a record fourth win in the Affirmed, the major tune-up locally for the Swaps Stakes July 4.
Winner of the Generous Stakes on turf at Hollywood last fall, Den's Legacy posted four consecutive in-the-money performances beginning with his third-place effort in the CashCall Futurity Dec. 15. He turned in runner-up finishes in the Sham and Robert B. Lewis stakes and was a close third in the Rebel Stakes.
But in the Arkansas Derby, the hard-trying colt raced prominently in the Oaklawn Park stretch after a big early move only to fade late, finishing 6 ½ lengths behind the victorious Overanalyze.
Den's Legacy has two wins from 12 starts with seven additional placings for earnings of $385,350 to lead the field. He carries top weight of 120 pounds and will be ridden from post 5 by Garrett Gomez.
The speedster Manando is rounding back into form with a 7 1/4-length romp in a first-level allowance/optional claiming race May 3. Owned by Kaleem Shah, the son of Bluegrass Cat colt ran third in the Sham Jan. 5, just three weeks after breaking his maiden, and seemed to be on his way to bigger things. But the bay colt bombed in the El Camino Real Derby, fading to last of nine as the favorite at Golden Gate Fields.
Dice Flavor, who upset the El Camino Real Derby at 9-1 odds, looks to bounce back after an unsuccessful trip to Dubai where he finished eighth in the UAE Derby March 30. This will be the first start back for the Paddy Gallagher-trained son of Scat Daddy . Dice Flavor broke his maiden over the turf at Hollywood park in December but is yet to try the Cushion Track.
Tiz a Minister was a fast-closing third, beaten one length in the San Felipe Stakes, followed by a fourth in the Santa Anita Derby. He attempts to make amends following a third-place effort against California-breds April 27 as a strong favorite in the Snow Chief Stakes. Trained by Paul Aguirre for S. A. Y. Racing, the Ministers Wild Cat colt has won once in four tries over the Cushion Track.
Claimed for $40,000 by his current connections out of a maiden race last Aug. 2 at Del Mar, Tiz a Minister has banked $360,780.
Swift Thoroughbreds Counting Days, third in the El Camino Real Derby, gets back on a synthetic track after back-to-back thirds for trainer Carla Gaines over the Santa Anita Park turf in the Pasadena and La Puente stakes. His sole victory came by 10 ¼ lengths against $50,000 maidens last Oct. 20 over the Polytrack at Keeneland.
Broadway Empire and Just Win Baby will try tougher here while Dirty Swagg has been overmatched in four starts since finishing third in the Real Quiet Stakes over the track and distance last November. Just Win Baby, trained by Oscar Garcia, tries blinkers for the first time.