Bodemeister takes aim at San Felipe

ARCADIA, Calif. -- Bodemeister has replaced Fed Biz on trainer Bob Baffert's team for Saturday's $300,000 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita, a race that will clarify the Hall of Famer's approach to the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 7.

Fed Biz, an impressive allowance race winner on Feb. 9, will miss the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes over 1 1/16 miles after Baffert said the colt "tied up," or experienced stomach cramps, earlier this week. Baffert said on Wednesday he was not sure of the cause.

"I had a little setback with him, not bad, though," Baffert said. "It's nothing serious. I don't know if he got cast or what. He tied up a little on me.

"I was going to work him, but he got tight on me. Right now, he's just jogging. We'll see how he works."

It was unclear how quickly Fed Biz could return to racing, but a start in the $500,000 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 17 may come too soon. Another option could be the $800,000 Sunland Park Derby in New Mexico on March 25.

"I think he's going to be all right, but I need to be extra cautious," Baffert said.

Owned by Kaleem Shah, Fed Biz, a $950,000, yearling purchase in 2010, has won 2 of 3 starts, but has yet to run in a stakes.

The San Felipe drew a field of 10.

Baffert has leading chances with Liaison, the winner of the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park on Dec. 17, and Bodemeister, the winner of a maiden race over a mile by 9 1-4 lengths on Feb. 11. Rafael Bejarano, who had been scheduled to ride Fed Biz, will ride Bodemeister.

The competition is strong. The field includes Creative Cause, third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last November; Rousing Sermon, the champion California-bred 2-year-old of 2011; Empire Way, second in the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes on Feb. 4; American Act, second in the San Vicente Stakes last month; the sprint stakes winner Midnight Transfer; and the longshots Blingo, Groovin' Solo and Tiz Point.

Liaison did not finish the Lewis Stakes after unseating jockey Rafael Bejarano when clipping heels in the stretch. Neither horse nor rider was injured.

For the San Felipe, Liaison will not wear blinkers, a change from his first five career starts. Owned by Arnold Zetcher, Liaison has two stakes and $469,560.

"Liaison is going to run a big race," Baffert said. "This race is a little too short for him. I'm taking the blinkers off and letting him break. Last time, he put him in the race and he got rank.

"When he started to re-rally, that's when he fell."

Bodemeister, owned by Zayat Stables, earned a 101 Beyer Speed Figure in his maiden race win. The San Felipe will be his third start, and first in a stakes. "It's a class test," Baffert said. "From here on, it's all a class test."

Tiz Point, trained by Richard Mandella for Gerald Ford's Diamond A Corp., won a one-mile maiden race on turf on Feb. 18. The San Felipe will be Tiz Point's first start in a stakes since a fifth behind Liaison in the Real Quiet Stakes at Hollywood Park last November.

"I'll try it and see what happens," Mandella said. "He's either good enough or he isn't."