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Victory Is a Real ‘Pleasure

Times Staff Writer

Excessivepleasure has turned out to be a bargain for owners Lee and Ty Leatherman.

Purchased as a yearling for $17,000 at Barretts in 2001, the gelded son of In Excess has now banked $472,502 in only five career starts after his game victory in the $500,000 Winstar Derby on Sunday at Sunland Park in New Mexico.

Trained by Doug O’Neill and ridden for the first time by Pat Day, the 7-2 third choice held off favored Spensive to win by a neck in 1:42.84 for the 1 1/16 miles.

Excessivepleasure -- a troubled second as the 2-5 favorite in his first race around two turns four weeks earlier at Sunland -- responded to the significant jockey change and won for the third time.

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Trainer Bob Baffert, who saddled the first two choices in the field of eight, had to settle for second and third. Apalachian Thunder, who set the pace under Patrick Valenzuela, faded to third as the 5-2 second choice.

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A field of nine is probable for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby, which will be run for the 66th time Saturday.

Atswhatimtalknabout, likely to be favored on the strength of his near miss in the San Felipe Stakes on March 16, is scheduled to work five furlongs for trainer Ron Ellis this morning.

Baffert, who has won the local Derby four times in the last seven years, is planning on running three -- Kafwain, who will be ridden for the first time by Valenzuela; Domestic Dispute, who was a flop as the favorite in the San Felipe, and longshot Indian Express. All three are expected to work today.

The field is expected to include San Felipe winner Buddy Gil, Ministers Wild Cat (who will run with blinkers for the first time), Ocean Terrace, Logician and Iron Lad. Entries for the Derby will taken Wednesday morning.

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Jockey Goncalino Almeida was the main beneficiary when Jose Valdivia Jr. was delayed returning to California after finishing off the board with Echo Eddie in a stakes race in Japan.

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Almeida picked up two of the three winners Valdivia was scheduled to ride, including Bare Necessities in the $82,875 Santa Lucia Handicap at Santa Anita.

Owned and bred by Iron County Farms and trained by Wally Dollase, Bare Necessities, a 4-year-old daughter of Silver Deputy, overcame a poor start to beat defending champion Alexine and seven others in the restricted stakes. The 5-2 second choice, she completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.45 while winning by 1 1/2 lengths.

This was the second consecutive victory for Bare Necessities and her fifth win in 13 starts overall. She had won the Sacramento Handicap at Golden Gate Fields three weeks earlier.

Meguial, the 2-1 favorite, finished seventh.

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