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Baze May Get First Derby Mount With Early Flyer In $750,000 Santa Anita Derby

March 29, 2001
by Kieran Sullivan
Santa Anita Stable Notes

Trainer Ron McAnally has had a change of heart, indicating Thursday that VHW Stable's Early Flyer will likely stay home for a run in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby April 7 instead of shipping to Oaklawn Park for the April 14 Arkansas Derby, which was the original outline for the Gilded Time colt.

"We're going to enter him (in the Santa Anita Derby) but we aren't sure if we're going to run in there yet," said McAnally Thursday morning. "The owners decided they didn't want to go to Arkansas. We're just marking time with him right now."

McAnally disclosed that he has given the Derby call on Early Flyer to Tyler Baze, who picks up the mount from regular rider Chris McCarron. McCarron had already committed to ride Golden Ballet for Jenine Sahadi in the Grade I Ashland Stakes at Keeneland April 7.

Having earned Eclipse Award honors as top apprentice in 2000, the 18-year-old Baze is enjoying a breakout year in his first full season as a journeyman. After 68 days of the winter/spring meeting, Baze sits in third place in the Santa Anita riders' standings with 46 wins, only two wins behind second-place Victor Espinoza. A run in the 1 1/8-mile Derby isn't exactly a done deal, however, as McAnally has a contingency plan for the San Vicente champion in case the Derby attracts a full gate.

"We'll look at the entries," McAnally said. "If it turns out to be a large field, then we'll probably go up north to run," referring to the 1 1/8-mile California Derby at Bay Meadows April 14.

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