Well in-hand under Joe Talamo heading into the far turn, Bob Baffert's heavily favored Dr. Dorr asserted his superiority in an instant leaving the three furlong pole en route to an emphatic 7 ¼ length triumph in Saturday's Grade II, $200,000 Californian Stakes at Santa Anita. Owned by Baffert's wife Jill, the 5-year-old Lookin At Lucky gelding got a mile and one eighth in 1:49.84.
“I give a lot of credit to Talamo,” said Baffert. “He rode him very patiently and he rode him like he's a good horse. I was really surprised myself, the way he kicked into gear…I really thought he was a Derby horse, which is why I named him after Dr. Dorr, such a great guy.
“The Gold Cup (Grade I, 1 ¼ miles on May 26) might be the next race, it's a good spot. It was really good that he didn't need the lead today, that was good.”
Bred in-part by Bob Baffert, CHRB Commissioner Madeline Auerbach and the late A-list actor, Jack Klugman, Dr. Dorr is out of the Unusual Heat mare, Jax El. In only his third attempt at two turns and his first time at 1 1/8 miles, Dr. Dorr notched his first graded stakes win and his fifth overall victory from 11 starts. With the winner's share of $120,000, he increased his earnings to $288,320.
“He handled the added distance, no problem,” said Talamo, who has now won three in a row on Dr. Dorr. “He was very professional, stalked that horse and when I asked him there, he really took off. It was great to see him finish up like that. He's scary-good right now, that's for sure. This was really special, because my Mom and Dad came out to see the baby (boy, Dominic Anthony, who was born April 19) and they were here in the Winner's Circle. Winning this race with a horse like this is a real bonus for all of us.”
A gate to wire winner of the ungraded Santana Mile here on March 31, Dr. Dorr was the 1-2 favorite in a field of six 3-year-olds and up and paid $3.00, $2.20 and $2.10.
Trainer Jim Cassidy's Prince of Arabia, who made a solid run from off the pace, proved second best, finishing a neck in front of The Lieutenant. Ridden by Stewart Elliott, he was off at 9-1, and paid $5.80 and $3.80.
“My horse is improving and he ran well,” said Elliott. “The winner was just too much for everyone today. He fought real hard for second money, I just wish we could've had a faster pace.”
Ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, The Lieutenant finished a nose in front of Full of Luck. Off at 7-1, The Lieutenant paid $3.20 to show.
Early pacesetter Soi Phet tired badly and finished fifth, beaten 18 ½ lengths under Kent Desormeaux.
Fractions on the race were 23.28, 47.81, 1:12.29 and 1:37.48.
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