McKinzie Takes Next Kentucky Derby Step With Sham Victory
By Margaret Ransom
The Triple Crown Trail’s route through Southern California officially got underway on Saturday as Watson, Pegram and Weitman’s McKinzie took the first Kentucky Derby prep of the new year, winning the $100,000 Sham Stakes (GIII) at Santa Anita Park by 3 ½ widening lengths under regular rider Mike Smith. The Son of Street Sense gave his Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert a record fifth winner in the event and earned himself ten points to make the Kentucky Derby starting gate in four months, bringing his overall total to 20, second behind Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) winner Good Magic’s 24.
McKinzie was the public’s overwhelming favorite at 1-5 and was good for $2.40, $2.40 and $2.10. Runner-up All Out Blitz capped off the $7.10 exacta (for $1) and paid $7.20 and $3.80 at odds of nearly 15-1. My Boy Jack checked in third, four lengths farther back, and was good for $2.80 at odds of nearly 7-1. Shivermetimbers, City Plan and Here Is Happy completed the order of finish after Mourinho was withdrawn in favor of the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park. The trifecta paid $12.30.
After the field of six newly turned sophomores broke cleanly from the gate, Smith took McKinzie back off the pace to a stalking position, while… (more)