Pletcher, Baffert plan invasions of Southwest, El Camino, Risen Star, Tampa Derby// List of prep probables// Key workouts// more…

A strong hint yesterday has turned into fact with the announcement Bob Baffert will send recent Santa Anita allowance winner Super Ninety Nine to Oaklawn for the Southwest (G3) Monday. The son of the Pulpit will most likely be favored, even though he will face Smarty Jones Stakes winner Will Take Charge and runner-up Texas Bling. Always in a Tiz and Brown Almighty are other Smarty Jones runners returning to the Southwest, while sprint stakes winner Tour Guide was officially ruled out due to shin issues// Bob Baffert not only plans to send an invader to Oaklawn, but could send one or two to Golden Gate Fields for the El Camino Real Derby (G3). Manando and Carving are being considered, with the latter the possible favorite if he joins the cast. Others considered probable for the El Camino are California Derby winner Zeewat; runner-up Wildcat Moon; locals Nina’s Dragon and North Pacific; and Southern California shippers Counting Days and Dice Flavor// My current top choice to win the Kentucky Derby, Verrazano, will make his stakes and two-turn debut in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) March 9. Todd Pletcher chose the race over others due to spacing, avoiding stablemates, and keeping the colt in Florida// Pletcher will also give Palace Malice his first stakes try in the Risen Star (G2) at the Fair Grounds Feb 23. The Fountain of Youth was also under consideration, but the connections say the fact Rosie Napravnik is available to ride at the Fair Grounds tipped the balance. I’m expecting a big effort from Palace Malice in the Risen Star seeing as his recent 2nd in an allowance at Gulfstream was his first race in over five months and a stunted six furlongs. Others probable for the Risen Star include Oxbow, Normandy Invasion, Code West, Proud Strike, and Golden Soul. It was announced Tuesday that Gary Stevens picked up the mount on Proud Strike. While many were excited over the news, I’m sure Brian Hernandez Jr. has a different take on being pushed out// Delhomme, unraced since a 3rd in the Remsen in November, will return most likely in the Rebel (G2) at Oaklawn March 16// A busy worktab Tuesday with Flashback, Super Ninety Nine, Orb, Den’s Lagacy and others hitting the track. Full details below// more…

Park City on the upswing (Courier Journal)
Kentucky Derby pedigrees (The Saratogian)

Orb- PAY- 4F- 49:20- B- 8/17
Flashback- SA- 4F- 47:80- H- 4/34
Den's Legacy- SA- 4F- 48:00- H- 6/34
Code West- SA- 4F- 48:00- H- 6/34
Belvin- SA- 4F- 47:40- H- 2/34
War Academy- SA- 4F- 47:80- H- 4/34
Super Ninety Nine- SA- 4F- 47:60- H- 3/34
Zeewat- GG- 4F- 49:40- H- 2/9

Quotes and Tweets:
"Flashback just breezed 1/2 in 47.4 cruising"- Bob Baffert via Twitter

"Gary Stevens has picked up the mount on Steve Asmussen's impressive MDN winner Proud Strike in the G2 Risen Star 2/23"- Steve Byk via Twitter

Code West, second to Super 99 in SA alw, heading to FG for Risen Star 2-23, Bob Baffert says. He worked 4f in 48 at SA today- Jay Privman via Twitter

Oxbow jogged about a mile then galloped the same distance after break @ #Oaklawn, preparing for Grade 2 Risen Star @ #FairGrounds on 2/23.- Mary Rampellini via Twitter