ARCADIA, Calif. — Lookin At Lucky can finish among the top three in Saturday's Santa Anita Derby, and Bob Baffert will be satisfied.
"It's not a do-or-die race for me," the Hall of Fame trainer said, even though it would be his record sixth victory in the $750,000 West Coast prep for the Kentucky Derby.
"If he's fit and healthy, he carries me the rest of the way."
And where Baffert hopes his colt ends up is in the winner's circle at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May.
He already knows Lookin At Lucky can handle running on dirt, so Baffert chose to keep last year's 2-year-old male champion at home for the 11⁄8-mile Santa Anita Derby on a synthetic surface instead of shipping him to Oaklawn Park for next week's Arkansas Derby on dirt.
Baffert and jockey Garrett Gomez were satisfied with Lookin At Lucky's 3-year-old debut on March 13, when he overcame a tough trip to win the Rebel by a head at Oaklawn. It was his first start on dirt and his first time wearing blinkers.
Lookin At Lucky goes into the Santa Anita Derby as the early 4-5 favorite in a field of 10.
Lookin At Lucky's rivals include Sham Stakes winner Alphie's Bet, the only other entrant who has already won at the distance. He drew the far outside post Saturday, just as he did in the Sham.
San Vicente and San Felipe winner Sidney's Candy is the 3-1 second choice, and is expected to set the pace.
The field also includes Caracortado, who was undefeated until a runner-up finish in the San Felipe.