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Bluewater Grads DRILL and AMERICAN ACT take over at Santa Anita in the Gr. 2 San Vincente
Sunday, February 19, 2012

Drill (Lawyer Ron) had lost some of his luster since winning last year's GI Del Mar Futurity, failing to hit the board in four starts since a runner-up effort in the Oct. 1 GI Norfolk S., but the Bob Baffert trainee buffed up his image with a determined victory in yesterday's GII San Vicente S. at Santa Anita. The win gave Baffert, who is enjoying an embarrassment of sophomore riches early in this Triple Crown trail season, his seventh San Vicente victory. Baffert's The Factor (War Front) took the race a year ago.     The pre-race talk focused squarely on the returning Creative Cause (Giant's Causeway), and while the Norfolk winner was sent off the 1-2 favorite, Drill was allowed to go off at 7-2 in the short field of four. American Act (Quiet American) jumped out to the early lead with Drill chasing through an opening quarter in :22.78 and Creative Cause taken back off the pace to avoid traffic. Drill took closer order after a half in :45.88 and stuck a head in front of the pacesetter at midstretch, as Creative Cause tried to make up ground from the middle of the track. It looked like Drill would come home an easy winner, but American Act fought back gamely to just miss by a nose as Creative Cause came home an even third. 

"I don't know what made the difference today, I guess he just wanted to run," admitted winning rider Martin Garcia. "He's a really good horse so I don't know what happened in his last races, but he put everything together today. The finish was close but I was confident I got the win."

Since running second behind Creative Cause in the Norfolk S., Drill was 10th in the Nov. 5 GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile, seventh in the Nov. 19 GIII Delta Downs Jackpot S. and ninth in the Dec. 17 GI CashCall Futurity. He returned to a sprint for the first time since his victory in the seven-furlong Del Mar Futurity when making his sophomore debut in the Jan. 22 San Pedro S., but came home only fifth as the 8-5 favorite that day. 

"We actually thought he was going to run really well last time," Baffert said. "Last time he broke a little slow and was behind, then he took him to the outside and then he flattened out." Of his charge's effort in the San Vicente, Baffert added, "It worked out today with a shorter field. He got to the outside where he was clear. Martin did a great job of slowing the pace down. He fired his race and it's nice to see him back. We just got the jump on everybody, so that really helped. Today he was more relaxed in the race and he got an easy trip, that helped too." 

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