Just a reminder jockey Agapito Delgadillo is serving a suspension so he won’t be around this weekend so don’t worry about horses he is replaced on.
Trainers are still looking to replace Julian Leparoux, who has moved back to the Kentucky circuit. Check what jockeys are getting calls in his spot for Mike Mitchell (Leparoux’s father-in-law) and Jerry Hollendorfer.
FIRST RACE: 1. Do Some Magic, 2. San Onofre, 3. Dreamnofatticus. LONG SHOT: High On Final.
SECOND RACE: 1. Visions of Candy, 2. Kevin’s Kool Kat, 3. U R My Candy Gir. LONG SHOT: Lethal Miss.
THIRD RACE: 1. Boyett, 2. Sinfully, 3. Persuasive Paul. LONG SHOT: This One’s for Mel.
FOURTH RACE: 1. Still Unbroken, 2. Infosec, 3. Tax Enough. LONG SHOT: Papa Smitty.
FIFTH RACE: 1. Dolphins Shorts, 2. Tiz Anna, 3. Flashy Dame. LONG SHOT: Holiday N Newport.
SIXTH RACE: 1. STREAMING (Best bet), 2. Artemis, 3. Abide in Me. LONG SHOT: Red Barris.
This is the time of the year that trainer Bob Baffert starts sending out his late-blooming 2-year-olds and that’s what we have here in STREAMING. This daughter of Smart Strike has been training in typical Baffert style: fast. The barn’s main ride, Martin Garcia, rides and this one looks ready to go.
SEVENTH RACE: 1. A Toast to You, 2. Camp Victory, 3. Gonna Fly Now. LONG SHOT: Silver Dragon.
EIGHTH RACE: 1. Bertran Hill, 2. Sandys Diamond, 3. Dugan Bill. LONG SHOT: Decarchy’s Trieste.
Comebacks were the order of the day during Breeders’ Cup 30 at Santa Anita Park Saturday.
Three defending champions returned to the winner’s circle: Groupie Doll ($8) in the Filly & Mare Sprint, Jim Rome’s Mizdirection ($7.40) in the Turf Sprint and Wise Dan ($3.60) in the Mile.
But the biggest comeback of all was saved for the marquee race on the card, the $5 million Classic as Mucho Macho Man ($10) returned to make up for last year’s runner-up finish to Fort Larned —- who finished fourth Saturday —- with 50-year-old jockey Gary Stevens, who returned to riding this year after a seven-year absence from the saddle, and trainer Kathy Ritvo, who had a heart transplant five years ago.
Mucho Macho Man had to survive a thrilling, three-horse driving finish as the 5-year-old beat 3-year-old Will Take Charge by a nose in 2 minutes, 00.72 seconds and it was another head back to European Declaration of War.
”The race was a mile‑and‑a‑quarter, and not a mile‑and‑a‑quarter and a stride, so it was perfect,” Stevens said. “Had I known it was that close, I probably wouldn’t have celebrated. But we’re not wrong very often. He had his head down. He was fully stretched out, and just a tremendous training job by Kathy and a tremendous effort from a great, great horse.”
Ritvo was just hoping her horse had made her the first woman to train a Classic winner.
“When I saw Gary shake his stick, I was confident,” she said.
On the other end, trainer D. Wayne Lukas had to suffer the heartbreak of a close loss.
“The first time by, I said no (Will Take Charge) lost,” Lukas said. “The second time, I thought he won it. The third time they ran it by, I said, ‘No, he was second. ‘ ”
Stevens said it was the culmination of his career to win his first BC Classic.
“This was a tremendous experience to win this race at my age,” Stevens said. “I never expected to be in this situation. This is the ultimate feeling. It’s the icing on the cake of my career.”
With happiness of the Classic, also came some sadness from trainer Bob Baffert’s camp, which had an up- and-down day.
Game On Dude, the betting favorite for a second straight year in the Classic, finished a disappointing ninth after contesting the pace early and faltering on the turn for home.
“When I saw (Game On Dude) going real fast on the backstretch, I knew I was going to be in trouble,” Baffert said. “Then when Mike (Smith, jockey) asked him, there was nothing there.”
Earlier on the program, Baffert won two races, but his day got off to a bad start when prized 2-year-old filly Secret Compass broke down on the turn for home with a fractured leg in the Juvenile Fillies and had to be euthanized. Jockey John Velazquez was injured in the incident, taken to the hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery to have his spleen removed.
Baffert won the Juvenile with New Year’s Day ($23) and Sprint with Secret Circle ($7), but it was still a melancholy afternoon.
“When you lose a horse like that, it just takes all the wind out of our sails,” Baffert said. “These horses are so close to us … For it to happen, we’re all still in shock. Just the win (in the Juvenile) is exciting, but you still, in the back of my mind, I’m thinking about that filly.”
Ria Antonia ($66.60) won the ill-fated Juvenile Fillies when original winner She’s a Tiger, ridden by Stevens, was disqualified for bumping her in the stretch.
The Europeans again dominated on the turf, save for Wise Dan’s win, as Dank ($5) took the Filly & Mare Turf and Magician ($27) won the Turf over fellow Euro The Fugue.
Co-owners Joe Torre, left, and Bernie Schiappa, right, escort favored Game On Dude and Martin Garcia into the winner’s circle after victory in the Grade I $1,000,000 Pacific Classic Sunday, at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. BENOIT PHOTO
DEL MAR —- In the end, The Dude was just too much.
After two straight years of frustrating losses in Del Mar’s $1 million Pacific Classic, Game On Dude ran the other 11 horses off their hooves on Sunday.
Game On Dude, who was the 8-5 betting favorite, beat runner-up Kettle Corn by 8½ lengths. It was the largest winning margin in the history of Del Mar’s premiere race.
“He made a huge statement,” said Bob Baffert, Game On Dude’s trainer. “It was a great day of horse racing in Southern California.”
The statement the 6-year-old gelding made was that he will be one of the favorites in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in the fall at Santa Anita.
Going into the Pacific Classic, there was plenty of uncertainty surrounding the Game On Dude camp. The thoroughbred didn’t seem to like Del Mar’s Polytrack surface the last two summers, despite finishing second last year to Dullahan.
Then there was the game of musical jockeys.
Mike Smith had ridden The Dude to five straight victories, but he had a commitment to ride Royal Delta on Sunday at Saratoga Springs, N.Y. So Baffert went out and got the nation’s leading jockey in money won, Joel Rosario. However, Rosario suffered a broken foot in a freak riding accident on Friday at Saratoga and will miss six weeks of action.
Baffert then turned to Martin Garcia, who had been exercising Game On Dude in the mornings, but hadn’t ridden him in the afternoon for more than two years. Garcia was spoken for in the Classic aboard Liaison, owned by Arnold Zetcher, another Baffert client, but the trainer asked to scratch the horse and run in another race next weekend.
“(Garcia) finally got paid for working the horse (in the mornings),” said Baffert of the $600,000 first-place check.
Garcia just was a pilot gliding around the race track through fractions of 24.19 seconds, 47.96 and 1:12.61. Canadian invader Delegation, who was suppose to pressure Game On Dude, stayed a length or so behind after being very wide through the stretch the first time. By the head of the stretch, Game On Dude had a 6-length lead and he hit the finish line in 2:00.69 for the 1¼ mile.
“I feel amazing,” said Garcia, “especially here at Del Mar in its biggest race. I felt really comfortable around there.”
Almost everyone watching the race knew it was over when Game On Dude was trotting around the track.
“We wish there had been some pace in front of them, but it wasn’t there. The other speed horses just didn’t go,” said trainer John Sadler, who finished second (Kettle Corn) and third (You Know I Know).
Garcia took Game On Dude straight to the rail from the No. 10 post as the rest of the field tried to find their spots.
“The move out of the gate, that was it,” said Baffert. “I told Jill (Baffert’s wife) that there were no excuses today. It was a tough loss last year (to Dullahan). This is a very emotional win.
“Martin said when (Game On Dude) here this year, he could tell he was a different horse. He was doing everything smoothly.
“We talked about different scenarios and how there was so much speed lined up, but I told Martin he had the fastest horse.”
Baffert also had instructions for the top of the stretch.
“I told him when you turn for home, I don’t want anyone running you down (like last year),” said Baffert. “I don’t want Dullahan running you down (again).”
No one could run down Game On Dude.
“Today, he really moved way up,” said Baffert, who saw his horse move to 29th on the all-time money earning list with $5.6 million. “He’s getting better.”