ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) -- War Academy won the $58,000 feature by 312 lengths at Santa Anita on Friday in his third career start and first around two turns, convincing trainer Bob Baffert to point his colt toward a Kentucky Derby prep.
Ridden by Mike Smith, War Academy ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.42 and paid $3.80, $2.20 and $2.10 as the 4-5 favorite. He was 512 lengths behind stablemate Mandando with three-eighths of a mile to run, but easily reeled him in.
"What I like so much about him is there's sooo much room to improve," said Smith, who was aboard War Academy for the first time. "He was well, well within himself."
Baffert said he will run War Academy in a major Kentucky Derby prep in an effort to accumulate the necessary qualifying points to make the 20-horse field.
"I don't know where yet, but it'll be a hundred (qualifying) points whatever it is," he said. "We're going for the bonus round."
Manando returned $2.40 and $2.20, while Brokered was another 334 lengths back in third and paid $2.80 to show.
The victory, worth $34,800, increased War Academy's career earnings to $70,800. The colt was purchased for $450,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale by Michael Tabor, John Magnier and Derrick Smith.