Classics Corner: Star on the rise

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Indianapolis the football team didn’t fare too well a little more than a week ago on a damp and rainy day in Boston as the hometown New England Patriots turned mistakes into points in a rout of the Colts. Indianapolis the Thoroughbred did a little better Monday, made no mistakes and won Santa Anita Park’s San Pedro in his second start and stakes debut for connections all too familiar with classic success.

Indianapolis turned the 6-furlong San Pedro into his personal showcase as he won with little urging from jockey Martin Garcia, drawing away inside the final sixteenth to win with authority.

The San Pedro, which only drew three others and none seemingly cut from the same mold as Indianapolis, was merely a steppingstone toward bigger prizes later this winter and spring for the winner. Bob Baffert said afterwards that Indianapolis was a colt he’d always “thought had superstar status” and it showed. He won by 4 1/4 lengths over Papa Turf in 1:08.80.

Indianapolis probably hadn’t even reached the test barn before Baffert said he’d map out a campaign, working back from the Kentucky Derby the first Saturday in May, for the talented colt.

Indianapolis races for the Coolmore team of Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor and Susan Magnier. He was purchased by Niall Brennan, agent for $490,000 at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale of selected yearlings, then cataloged and scratched from both the Fasig-Tipton Florida and Keeneland April 2-year-olds in training sales. He is out of the Beau Genius mare Pretty ‘n Smart, the dam of graded stakes winners Heart Ashley and Ashley’s Kitty.

Coolmore is typically flush with contenders for this year’s European classics, and its group is led by Australia and Geoffrey Chaucer. …

Across the country at Aqueduct, Hot Heir Skier won his second straight and stakes debut taking the $100,000 Jimmy Winkfield for Eb Novak’s New Farm trainer Ben Perkins Jr. The Wildcat Heir colt wasn’t as professional late as he was early but was good enough to win by a half-length from favored Oliver Zip. …

The third of three stakes for sophomores on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, the $150,000 Smarty Jones at Oaklawn, went to recent Fair Grounds maiden winner Tanzanite Cat in an upset over Walt and favored Coastline. The son of Graeme Hall is trained by Cody Autry, currently the leading trainer at Oaklawn.