Preview: The turf rails come back in to 12 feet today which will allow closers to have a better shot in the stretch. Yesterday we talked about jockeys who have done well so far during the meet on the grass. Here are a couple of jockeys who have been struggling on the green (stats through Tuesday): Tyler Baze (1-for-18), Santiago Gonzalez (1-15) and Stewart Elliott (0-9).
Race 1: 1. #4 Mrs. Guty (7-2) BEST BET, 2. Spindle, 3. Generous Pour. LONG SHOT: La Galy
This filly finished third as the 6-5 favorite in her debut. She showed a lot of speed that day and tired so should be fitter for this race. Trainer Michael McCarthy is 23% with horses off a 46 to 90-day layoff. The filly also takes a drop in class.
Race 2: 1. Cioppino Pasadino, 2. My California, 3. I’ll Be Around. LONG SHOT: Love a Honeybadger.
Race 3: 1. Katy Drama, 2. Sizzling Bel, 3. B K Miss. LONG SHOT: Chicago Angel.
Race 4: 1. #5 Ciao Bella Rosa (12-1), 2. Simmy’s Temple, 3. You Missed It. LONG SHOT: Gio’s Lady.
This filly cost $125K at auction and is sire by Kitten’s Joy, who gets 17% first out winners on the grass. This 2-year-old is prep to love the green and go a distance of ground. Trainer Peter Miller likes to win at Del Mar and at a price is even better.
Race 5: 1. Jonny’s Choice, 2. Minister Vivendi, 3. Nahem. LONG SHOT: Misdeed.
Race 6: 1. #5 Doubelievenmagic (7-2), 2. Out Ofthe Ordinary. LONG SHOT: Queen Scheherazade.
This filly finished second on the grass for trainer Todd Pletcher at Gulfstream Park 2 months ago and now ends up here to try and cash in on the “Ship N Win” program. Trainer David Hofmans is 35% going from sprint to route, 18% with first-time routers and 27% with jockey Joe Talamo at Del Mar.
Trainer Richard Baltas has been hitting on all cyclinders so far at the meet. This filly ran a big race over this track in October but ran into the highly regarded Bellamentry. She holds an early pace edge and class edge over these plus jockey Santiago Gonzalez rides.
Race 6: #1 Rare Candy (6-1)
This newly turned 3-year-old finished fourth over this track in his only dirt race. He finished fourth to undefeated Nyquist that day and now adds blinkers as trainer David Hofmans searches for the right formula. Jockey Joe Talamo stays aboard.
Sorry, sort of took Los Alamitos off from blogging. Made some picks on HorsePlayerNow and did OK, but nothing to write home about. Beside, at work, we are learning a new computer system and my schedule is a little wacky (working a lot of days) and we have another week of that.
But Santa Anita is back and here are a few thoughts on Saturday’s card.
FIRST RACE: 1. Aeon, 2. Redneck Crazy, 3. Sorcerer’s Wildcat. LONG SHOT: Little Mustard.
SECOND RACE: 1. Adeline Moon, 2. C.C. Zipp, 3. Sudden Fame. LONG SHOT: Mrs. Norris.
THIRD RACE: 1. #6 Elementar (12-1), 2. Curlin’s Fox, 3. Desert Steel. LONG SHOT: Singing Kitty.
This filly is returning in a tough spot, but she has won down the hill before. Now, Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens takes over for trainer Richard Mandella and they are a 33% proposition at Santa Anita. The 3-year-old is also coming out of a key race.
FIFTH RACE: 1. #6 Rare Candy (12-1), 2. Nyquist, 3. Swipe. LONG SHOT: On Fire.
After three straight runs on the grass, including a win, trainer David Hofmans has decided it’s time to find out if this son of Twirling Candy can run on the dirt. There are two big works on the dirt and the distance should be no problem. It’s a matter if he has the class.
SIXTH RACE: 1. Mal Verde, 2. Smack Talk, 3. Labour. LONG SHOT: Kill Shot.
SEVENTH RACE: 1.beholder, 2. Warren’s Veneda, 3. Wild in the Saddle. LONG SHOT: My Monet.
EIGHTH RACE: 1. Songbird, 2. Jade Princess, 3. Pretty N Cool. LONG SHOT: Vieja Luna.
NINTH RACE: 1. #8 Hard Not to Like (3-1) BEST BET, 2. Photo Call, 3. Lady Pimperna;. LONG SHOT: Sharla Rae.
Trainer Christophe Clement shipped west in May to take a Grade I with this mare and he’s trying it again, with the same jockey, Victor Espinoza. This 6-year-old has a wicked urn of foot in the stretch and while she hasn’t gone this far before that should be no problem.
10TH RACE: 1. #2 Sammy Mandeville (10-1), 2. Hoppertunity, 3. Bayern. LONG SHOT: Point Piper.
This 4-year-old has had one problem this year: Catch a Flight. Well, that Richard Mandella horse isn’t running in this race so let’s give this 4-year-old a shot with leading rider Rafael Bejarano aboard. The son of Rock Hard Ten finished second in the Longacres Mile and that race has produced three next out winners.
11TH RACE: 1. Coach Q, 2. Canada, 3. Osceola Pond. LONG SHOT: Strong Values.
This 3-year-old makes his second start off the layoff and first start in the maiden claiming ranks. If you look at whom he faced in his first two career races (Chitu, The Admiral and Bayern) then he would seem to hold a real class edge on the drop. He pressed the pace in his last before tiring and should be in better shape for trainer David Hofmans and Hall of Fame jockey Alex Solis.
Race 6: #10 Stood Up (7-2)
Trainer Art Sherman will be busy with some horse named California Chrome in Philadelphia, but the barn has this runner ready for her debut. The filly is owned by Ed Allred, who just happens to own Los Alamitos. You don’t think the “house” horse was pointed for this spot on purpose?.
Trainer David Hofmans scratched two horses off Wednesday’s program due to the condition of the turf at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.
Following four thoroughbred euthanizations on Del Mar’s new grass course over the first first eight days of racing, Del Mar’s Joe Harper cancelled turf racing on Sunday to give employees an extra day to work on the surface.
Turf superintendent Leif Dickinson and his crew have been watering and aerating the surface that was planted this spring. The track also planned to move the rails out to an 18-foot setting for Wednesday’s program so that horses would run over relatively fresher ground.
Track officials were on the surface on Tuesday morning before giving the final go ahead to resume racing on it, but Hofmans was taking no chances.
Hofmans scratched 4-year-old gelding They Call Me Mr. P, owned by Karen and Mickey Taylor of Seattle Slew fame, from the third race and 2-year-old Popsracer from the sixth race.
When asked why he scratched, Hofmans was to the point.
“I want to see wait and see what they do (to the turf),” Hofmans said. “I know they are trying to soften it, but I want to wait and see. I would have preferred if they had waited a few more days (to resume grass racing). I think that would have been better.”
SIXTH RACE: 1. Chati’s On Top, 2. Norastone, 3. Princess Genevieve. LONG SHOT: Cause Ur My Babe.
This daughter of Old Topper, CHATI’S ON TOP, runs in Southern California for the first time off a Golden Gate maiden win. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith takes over as Mike Puype takes over the training. The tow are a 40% proposition the last two years at Santa Anita.
SEVENTH RACE: 1. Diversy Harbor, 2. Nashoba’s Gold, 3. Savings Account. LONG SHOT: Tiz Kissable.
EIGHTH RACE: 1. Schoolofhardrocks, 2. Candy Boy, 3. California Chrome. LONG SHOT: Hoppertunity.
SCHOOLOFHARDROCKS, a son of Rock Hard Ten, was the “wise guy” horse before the Grade II San Felipe with a series of big works off a long layoff. He ran OK but was no match for California Chrome, who is also running here. Again this David Hofmans trainee has been training well coming into the race and must finish first or second to have any chance at running in the Kentucky Derby. Likewise, CANDY BOY has to finish first or second to get to the Derby while CALIFORNIA CHROME and HOPPERTUNITY already have enough point to get to Kentucky.
NINTH RACE: 1. Advisory, 2. Tommy O, 3. Brave Act. LONG SHOT: Sir Macho.
10TH RACE: 1. Toledo Eddie (best bet), 2. Too Fast to Pass, 3. Seeking the Sherif. LONG SHOT: Explain.
TOLEDO EDDIE, a 5-year-old gelding, is a perfect 3-for-3 on the Santa Anita Derby. The son of Ministers Wild Cat has seven lifetime wins while many in this race have just one or two. He’s moving into open company but has been working well for trainer Craig Dollase.
11TH RACE: 1. Indygo F M A, 2. Kerrilynn, 3. Joeandbetty’sbaby. LONG SHOT: I’m Tops.
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Friday’s top choice winners: 2 (Water Issues $15.80, fourth race; Fit to Rule $4.60, fifth)
Friday’s second choice winners: 2 (Tiz the Key $5.60, first; Theatre Star #5.60, sixth)
Friday’s third choice winners: 2 (Chicsdigtheshark $12.20, third; My Sweet Addiction $7.40, seventh)
FIRST RACE: 1. Peacenik, 2. Muchos Besos, 3. Senator Bob. LONG SHOT: Gnarly Dude.
SECOND RACE: 1. La Sorella, 2. Miss Super Quick, 3. Sweet as a Rose. LONG SHOT: Shapely.
THIRD RACE: 1. Wistfullee Mine, 2. We Have Lift Off, 3. Street Maven. LONG SHOT: Roman Tizzy.
WISTFULLEE MINE, a 4-year-old gelding, was bred to run all day, yet in his eighth career start this is the longest he has run. He ran against winners last time for some reason and now returns to the maiden claiming ranks. Veteran jockey Iggy Puglisi has seven wins at the meet from limited starters and knows what to do.
OK, we’re bucking a couple of bad trends here, but we feel something is up with LOUDEN’S GRAY. Trainer Kristin Mulhall is 0-for-36 at the meet and just 1-for-17 with first-time starters the last two years, yet she is able to attract jockey Martin Garcia, even though trainer Bob Baffert has a horse in the race. This son of Street Sense has two big works showing and might be ready to roll.
SIXTH RACE: 1. Mega Heat, 2. Stoney Fleece, 3. Hog’s Hollow. LONG SHOT: El Commodore.
SEVENTH RACE: 1. Twin Six, 2. Londinium, 3. Anabaa Premium. LONG SHOT: Joe Carl.
EIGHTH RACE: 1. Home Run Kitten, 2. Diamond Bachelor, 3. Enterprising. LONG SHOT: Quotient.
This son of Kitten’s Joy, HOME RUN KITTEN, is bred to run all day on the grass, but this is the first time he’s being allowed to do that. Trainer David Hofmans tried him on the dirt, finishing fifth in the Robert B. Lewis to Candy Boy, hardly a disgrace. Jockey Joe Talamo keeps the mount and we always like “Talamo on the turf.”
Mike Smith celebrates winning the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap on trainer Bob Baffert’s Game On Dude.
Quotes from Saturday’s stakes races at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia. The quotes are courtesy of the Santa Anita publicity department, headed by Mike Willman.
Grade II San Felipe for 3-year-olds
VICTOR ESPINOZA, CALIFORNIA CHROME, WINNER: “It was great. He ran like I expected him to. Everything worked out today. I wanted to try something new today so I let him go right out of the gate. I don’t know if people expected me to go right to the lead but I wanted to let him enjoy his race, I just let him go. In these races, you can’t just try and do too much with them. I think it’s important for him to do his thing for the first five-eighths and be happy. It seems like he likes both tracks. He’s been training over at Los Al but he does things so much easier at Santa Anita after having trained at Los Al. He didn’t feel tired at all after the wire.”
MIKE SMITH, MIDNIGHT HAWK, SECOND: “He did good. He got away a bit slow. He didn’t break as well as we’d like, but in saying that, he had no excuse. The winner just beat me. I wish the outcome was different, but it is what it is.”
(On California Chrome): “He’s a serious 3-year-old. People should start paying attention to him now.
It was pretty straightforward, to be honest with you. Except for getting out a bit slow, what you saw was what happened. There are no hiccups after that. He (Victor Espinoza aboard California Chrome) asked his horse to run as I did and he happened to have more than I did.”
ART SHERMAN, CALIFORNIA CHROME, WINNER: “I didn’t think he’d be on the lead, but he was a handful today. I just told Victor (Espinoza before the race), ‘You got him.’ I told him he broke like that because of that Quarter Horse training at Los Alamitos . . . We all know Santa Anita’s a speed-biased type of track, so it was really great to see him with the hold he had on him. It’s unbelievable.
“I’m looking at the race saying, ‘Well, I hope that horse (Midnight Hawk) doesn’t press him too hard, but I’ll tell you, when he asked him to go, he looked like a fresh horse, breaking, didn’t he? Maybe I’m looking at the wrong race, I don’t know. But I had a lot of fun watching him run.”
Asked if the Santa Anita Derby (April 5) might be next: “Well, we’ll kind of play it by ear. I needed this 50 points (see note below) and we’ll kind of see what happens. Now I think I deserve to go to the (Kentucky) Derby (May 3). I don’t think the distance will make any difference, a mile and a quarter. I think he’ll run all day.”
Asked what it’s like to have the first Derby horse training at Los Al: “The people are just great. The Quarter Horse people, I got more rooters over there today, you cannot believe it. Every Quarter Horse trainer came over and shook my hand and said, ‘Go get ‘em, Art.’ It made me feel good. They’re going to be proud tonight.”
BOB BAFFERT, MIDNIGHT HAWK, SECOND:“I told Mike, ‘That’s the horse you’ve got to beat.’ It was a two-horse race going in. He ran good. My horse ran huge. I was a little disappointed running second– he ran with that horse, but he couldn’t sustain it, and he got a little tired there at the end.
“You don’t want to see a horse go out that fast. When it gets warm like this, the track gets pretty fast. It’s pretty speed-biased. The horse that won it, he’s a good horse.”
DAVID HOFMANS, SCHOOLOFHARDROCKS, FOURTH:“I thought he ran OK. I’m sure he got tired, they ran really fast and maybe the track was a little hard for him today . . . but we’ll see. We’ll go from here!”
NOTES: The winning owners/breeders are Perry Martin of Yuba City, CA and Steve Coburn of Wellington NV. The San Felipe offered the following qualifying points for the May 3 Kentucky Derby: 50 for first, 20 for second, 10 for third and five for fourth.
Grade II San Carlos
JOEL ROSARIO, SAHARA SKY, WINNER: “It was a really good ride. He was in a little bit of trouble turning for home. I had to try and find some room and as soon as someone gave me enough room I tried to find my way through, and when I asked him he was good. He was good after all that.”
LUIS SAEZ, BIG MACHER, SECOND: “My horse has a lot of speed. He got in a good position. Coming into the stretch, I felt I had a lot of horse. My horse wasn’t tired; he could run, but the other horse beat me. He ran so hard.”
MIKE SMITH, SHAKIN IT UP, FIFTH: (How did he end up on the inside coming down the lane?) “That was probably me trying to be too smart, honestly. The inside bias seems to be really playing big today, and being in the 10 hole, I was trying to make it as easy as possible. I had the opportunity to really cut the corner and save some ground, but in doing so, you have to get lucky and get through, and we didn’t. “Yeah, there was a lot of traffic (coming into the stretch), and I didn’t get clear. The winner ended up getting in the same predicament that I was in, but he was able to get out. I found a place to run late, but it wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked.”
JERRY HOLLENDORFER, SAHARA SKY, WINNER, WILD DUDE, FOURTH, AND ZEEWAT, 10TH AND LAST: “Yes, the pace set up real well for him.” Asked if the No. 1 post position was a concern: “No, not for him, because he comes from out of it anyway. I just told Joel to help him away from there a little bit and not let him get 15 (lengths) out it.
“My eyes were on Wild Dude because he was the one that was prevalent coming down the lane. I thought he was going to win, then I saw Sahara Sky come on the outside. I heard him call Zeewat and I was trying to find where he was but I couldn’t find him . . . He (Sahara Sky) won the Met Mile last year and probably that would be the point race for him this year.”
KIM LLOYD, PART OWNER OF SAHARA SKY: “He’s run so well fresh, and when he didn’t run his best race (fifth in the Palos Verdes), we felt he wasn’t fit. Obviously, that was the case, but you always wonder, and he settled that for us today.”
RICHARD BALTAS, BIG MACHER, SECOND: “I thought he ran great. He did exactly what I told him. He didn’t need to lead if he didn’t have to and I think he rode him well. We got beat by a Grade I horse.
“The game plan was to break sharp and place the horse after that. He does have a lot of speed and he can carry it, but I didn’t want to get him caught behind horses drawing in. I told him to break him and put him in the race and if he gets the lead, fine. If someone else wants the lead, that’s OK, too. He rode him perfect.”
CRAIG LEWIS, CLUBHOUSE RIDE, THIRD: “I lost so much time with him and with the rain (last week) I couldn’t do what I wanted to do with him. That’s why I went in here, the San Carlos (as opposed to the Big ’Cap at 1 ¼ miles).”
NOTES: The winning owners are Jerry Hollendorfer of Point Richmond, CA, and Kim Lloyd (Sweetwater Stable) of Claremont, CA.
Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile
COREY NAKATANI, WINNING PRIZE, WINNER: “I talked to Neil about it this morning, and we felt we were ready if he was going to go ahead and go and do his thing. We knew we could track him. I know this horse didn’t have to be on the lead, but today, it was coming easy to him, and I wasn’t going to take it away. Whatever he was comfortable with, we were going to do. We were getting a little bit of pressure, but I was able to get him relaxed. He had his ears pricked, and it was just nice and comfortable. He likes that high cruising speed, and we let him do the running, and he showed he was the best one today.”
ORLANDO BOCACHICA, LOCHTE, SECOND: “I got a good break. I tried not to use him as much as I could. I tried to sit there and wait for a moment to open up. I think he (Winning Prize) held towards the end and that’s why he beat me.”
NEIL DRYSDALE, WINNING PRIZE, WINNER: “We were expecting the other horse to go to the lead. When he took him back, it left us on the lead, and he wasn’t pressured badly – we went 23 and change, 46 and change. That horse is just quality. It makes a big difference when you can get away with an easy first half mile. That set us up well. He quickened well in the stretch. He’s changed and relaxes in his races. He’s becoming more adaptable the more we race him.”
MARCUS VITALI, LOCHTE, SECOND: “I thought the ride was spectacular. Going a flat mile, I thought we had him tuned up for the flat mile. Orlando did a great job. He sat there, he was patient. He saved ground. The fence opened up a little bit and he made his big run. The six horse (Winning Prize) seemed to be a little bit better today, but overall, I’m pleased with everything. We shipped from Florida about eight days ago. I got here two days ago and watched him train yesterday. Everything seemed on target and I’m very pleased.
Next? “I’ll have to talk that over with Mrs. (Caroline) Vogel and we’ll come up with a game plan.”
FERNANDO FANTINI (RACING MANAGER FOR RON McANALLY), SUGGESTIVE BOY, THIRD: “This is a gift. He had a health problem eight months ago. He was supposed to not run ever again. He ran the Arcadia and wasn’t 100 percent, and now he’s starting to get back. Dr. (Larry) Bramlage said the horse could run again, and he was right. It’s absolutely a good feeling – we’re very happy.”
CHRISTOPHE LOURIEL, ASSISTANT TO CHRISTOPHE CLEMENT, ZA APPROVAL, FOURTH: “I thought he might have tired a little bit. When you looked at the fractions, they were pretty decent. We’re disappointed, but I think he might have needed a race.”
NOTES: The winning owners are Jose Nelson and David Heerensperger of Bellevue, WA.
Grade I Santa Anita Handicap
MIKE SMITH, GAME ON DUDE, WINNER: “I knew he was going to run today. I knew it from the post parade when we turned around to go to the gate. He was on his toes today, he was on fire. He’s like that when he runs well. He ran big; I just had that feeling that he was going to. Down the backside he was happy, he was cruisin’, he was well within himself. He was throwing numbers, I knew we were going fast; I actually went even faster this time than I did last time (San Antonio Feb. 8). I got yelled at for going fast last time and that was forty-six; we went forty-five today and that’s at a mile and a quarter!
“Bob told me to trust him, that I would have a different horse this time. He didn’t think he had him exactly where he wanted him for the San Antonio. Bob told me not to be down, that he didn’t have him ready. He had him 110 percent today and when it comes to Bob, that’s who you want to be riding for on big days.
“I knew he was going to have to run today because they came at me. But when they came at me he dropped to the ground. When he needs to, he fires.
“I knew they would have to be better than him today to beat him. Like I’ve said before, when he shows up he can run with anybody in the world. We may throw in a dud every now and then but he makes up for it!”
LUIS SAEZ, WILL TAKE CHARGE, SECOND: “He ran so hard. He’s very good and was in good position all the way. At the half-mile pole, I saw Game On Dude going so comfortably. My horse still ran good. It’s OK. I wanted to be following Mucho Macho Man, (because I thought that was the horse with the best chance to win).”
AARON GRYDER, BLINGO, THIRD: “He ran great. We knew we were up against some very good horses and he had to step up and I do believe he did. He ran a very good race. His first time going a mile and a quarter and he cut it real nice. He gave a good account of himself. It was his first time going the distance and he was still running down the lane. He had to run to pass Mucho Macho Man and I was very pleased with his effort. He runs hard. He’s improving.”
GARY STEVENS, MUCHO MACHO MAN, FOURTH: “He broke real well for me, and I was actually in a pretty good spot, and then Rafael (Bejarano, on Rousing Sermon) came up on me and made him move right along. I slipped to the outside, where I wanted to be, going into the back stretch. (Luis Saez) came with Will Take Charge and attacked me about the half-mile pole. That probably was a winning move had Game On Dude not been on his game today. I was fourth-best, and the champ arrived again today at Santa Anita, and Will Take Charge was second-best.”
(Did your horse do anything differently today?)
“He was a complete professional – he warmed up good, ran good. I was very happy. The race really started at the half-mile pole when Luis engaged me and I couldn’t go with him. I was basically empty at the 3/8 pole. That’s a bad feeling in a race like this and on a horse like that when you know at the 3/8 pole that you don’t have a chance to win.”
BOB BAFFERT, GAME ON DUDE, WINNER: “They went fast but he was rockin’, he was rollin’. The Dude showed up. Last time (the San Antonio), he wasn’t ready . . . He had to do it today. I just told Mike Smith, ‘When they expect you to be on the lead, you have to be on the lead. Just let him rip, do his thing and if it happens, it happens.’”
Asked about Game On Dude becoming the first-time three-time winner of the Big ’Cap: “Bernie (Schiappa) is the only guy (owner) here today. To me, it’s an emotional win for the horse. It kills me when they knock on him, but we came in here quiet and that’s the way I like to come in. We came in under the radar and we were ready for them.”
KATHY RITVO, MUCHO MACHO MAN, FOURTH: “It’s going to take us some time to figure it out (what happened). I’m going to watch it again.” Question: Mentioned that it didn’t seem to be his day? “That happens.”
NOTES: Game On Dude is the first horse to win the Santa Anita Handicap three times, in this, its 77th running. The winning owners are Joe Torre of Harrison, NY (Diamond Pride LLC); Lanni Family Trust of Pasadena; Ernest Moody of Las Vegas (Mercedes Stable, LLC); and Bernie Schiappa of Las Vegas. Today’s on-track attendance was 27,121.