Cassidy Has Simple Plan for Ocho Ocho Ocho

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6:51 pm EST

By Dick Downey

Ocho Ocho Ocho gets on the Kentucky Derby Trail in earnest in Saturday’s San Felipe Stakes, and Jim Cassidy says he's ready.

Ocho Ocho Ocho won the Juvenile Turf Sprint when it was moved to Santa Anita’s main track due to rainy weather on Nov. 1, and he followed that with victory in the Delta Jackpot on Nov. 22. Cassidy says Ocho Ocho Ocho has been doing well since before then.

“He’s been really good since September of last year,” the trainer said. “I have no issues with him. He’s pretty straightforward and obviously he can run, so hopefully we’ve got him tight enough for this race. I think he’ll run pretty good. He doesn’t have to be on the lead. He can sit off of it. He’s got a decent style.”

Cassidy's plan for the son of Street Sense is straightforward too, the trainer saying he’ll go from the San Felipe to the Santa Anita Derby.

What will Cassidy say to Mike Smith before the race?

“I’m not going to tell him anything,” Cassidy said. “We stay out of each other’s way.”

The field for the San Felipe: Lord Nelson, Rafael Bejarano, 4-1; Ocho Ocho Ocho, Mike Smith, 4-1; Dortmund, Martin Garcia, 8-5; The Gomper, Tyler Baze, 15-1; Kenjisstorm, Agapito Delgadillo, 50-1; Prospect Park, Kent Desormeaux, 4-1; Bolo, Victor Espinoza, 6-1; Pulmarack, Drayden Van Dyke, 20-1; Sir Samson, Joe Talamo, 12-1; and Pain and Misery, Flavien Prat, 15-1.

The San Felipe offers 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winner, and 20, 10 and five to the second, third and fourth place finishers. Of those entered in the San Felipe, Dortmund (20) and Ocho Ocho Ocho (10) are the only one with points thus far.

Addtional content from Santa Anita release