HOT SPRINGS, Ark. —
Always In A Tiz, ridden by Paco Lopez, finished a distant fifth from the fifth position.
“(Lopez) said he just wasn’t handling it at all,” trainer Dominick Schettino said. “We had a great trip, sitting right there on the outside, but then when Paco asked him on the turn, he started switching his leads back and forth and not getting anywhere. Back to the drawing board.”
Oaklawn dodged showers for much of the day, but the skies opened up 30 minutes before the featured race.
The rain lightened to a small drizzle in the moments before post time, but the track — which had been rated as fast throughout the day — was a sloppy for the 1:44.84 winning lap.
“The break was so important today,” Baffert said.
Rain or no rain, Super Ninety Nine was clearly the class of the field.
And his performance was enough for Baffert to say he’s already considering bringing him back for the Arkansas Derby.
The colt earned $180,000 for the win, plus valuable points in the new Kentucky Derby points system. Fear the Kitten won $60,000, while Heaven’s Runway earned $30,000.
“Until you stretch them out and start going two turns with these horses, you really don’t ... They start showing their ability,” Baffert said. “You’re always hoping they’ll go two turns, but this horse seems like he can.
“You look at him, hand he’s built like a sprinter. He’s a big, strong horse.”
Oaklawn’s series of Kentucky Derby prep races continues with the $600,000 Rebel Stakes on March 16th and the Arkansas Derby on April 13th.