Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita Big ‘Cap Day in their own words

Game_One_Dude_Mike_Smith_1_72 (1)

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

Jockey quotes

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.

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita picks for Thursday, Feb. 13 (updated)

Looks like jockey Kent Desormeaux might be making the move West as he has been named on a few horses this week. He won a race for trainer John Sadler last weekend and almost took the San Antonio with Imperative, finishing second to Blingo but beating odds-on favorite Game On Dude. The former SoCal resident will be a welcome addition to the riding colony.

No major contenders scratched off the program.


FIRST RACE: 1. Anabaa Premium, 2. Mensa Heat, 3. Majestic Moment. LONG SHOT: Tuckers Point.


SECOND RACE: 1. Macha, 2. Eblouissante, 3. Changethechannel. LONG SHOT: Melanistic.


THIRD RACE: 1. Quiet Force, 2. Copper Bay, 3. Boss of Me. LONG SHOT: Crusher. 

Trainer Richard Mandella drops QUIET FORCE, a 4-year-old colt, into a claimer for the first time so it could be fire sale time. The son of Dynaformer goes from outside to inside and hopefully that makes the difference around two turns.


FOURTH RACE: 1. Holiday N Newport, 2. Clearly Confused, 3. Pebble Beach Baby. LONG SHOT: Funny Gal.


FIFTH RACE: 1. Promiscuoussances, 2. Creditcardroulette, 3. Spiced Latte. LONG SHOT: Anita Marie.


SIXTH RACE: 1. Sams Blue Cat (best bet), 2. Runaway Que, 3. Lieutenant Seany O. LONG SHOT: Ghost of Harrenhal.

The 3-year-old colt SAMS BLUE CAT tries two turns for the first time and we’re hoping jockey Rafael Bejarano notices there is a lot of speed in this race so he waits until the turn to make his move. Bejarano and trainer Mike Pender are a 32% winning combination.


SEVENTH RACE: 1. Tap It Rich, 2. Bayern, 3. Baranof. LONG SHOT: Brother Soldier.


EIGHTH RACE: 1. Closet E, 2. Stenoa, 3. Reps and Warrants. LONG SHOT: Samurai Assault.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Sunday’s top choice winners: 2 (Sweet Profit $13.20, third race; Smart N Dreamy $5.60, fourth)

Sunday’s second choice winners: 1 (Ranulf $2.60, first)

Sunday’s third choice winners: 3 (Admission $4.60, second; Omega Star $9.20, seventh; Sky High Gal $15.40, eighth)

Sunday’s long shot winners: 2 (Time For Angie $14, fifth; Moulin de Mougin $5.20, sixth)

Breeders' Cup, Horse racing, Santa Anita

Breeders’ Cup comes all the way back


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.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Breeders' Cup, Horse racing, Santa Anita

Updated Santa Anita/Breeders’ Cup picks for Saturday, Nov. 2

Call it what you will, but watch the first few dirt races on Saturday to see if the speed bias continues on Santa Anita’s main track.

FIRST RACE: 1. Richies Party Girl, 2. Love in the Desert, 3. Mr. Cactus, 4. Jedi Mind Trick. LONG SHOT: Test Ride.

Just throw out RICHIES PARTY GIRL’s last race at Keeneland because she want no part of two turns. She returns to a turf sprint here down the hill. Trainer Wesley Ward thought enough of her to send her to France in August and she finished a strong fourth in Grade III company.


SECOND RACE: 1. Flashback, 2. Anillo, 3. Zeewat. LONG SHOT: Tour Guide.


THIRD RACE: 1. Purim’s Dancer, 2. Pontchatrain, 3. Sky High Gal, 4. Judy In Disguise. LONG SHOT: Ultrasonic.




FOURTH RACE: 1. Concave, 2. Secret Compass, 3. Artemis Agrotera, 4. Sweet Reason. LONG SHOT: Ria Antonia.

The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies is a tough spot for this 2-year-old filly CONCAVE, but she is a daughter of Colonel John and we love Colonel John’s offspring on the stretchout. She has been away since finishing third in the Del Mar Debutante on Aug. 31, but it appears she has been working quite nicely for trainer Doug O’Neill. She has been given time to fill out and we think she will relish the two turns on the dirt.


FIFTH RACE: 1. Dank, 2. Tiz Flirtatious, 3. Romantica, 4. Laughing. LONG SHOT: Qushchi.


SIXTH RACE: 1. Sweet Lulu, 2. Teddy’s Promise, 3. Book Review, 4. Dance to Bristol. LONG SHOT: Ismene.


SEVENTH RACE: 1. MIZDIRECTION (BEST BET), 2. Reneesgotzip, 3. Unbridled’s Note, 4. Capo Bastone. LONG SHOT: Havelock.



EIGHTH RACE: 1. New Year’s Day, 2. Tap It Rich, 3. Mexikoma, 4. Havana. LONG SHOT: Diamond Bachelor.


NINTH RACE: 1. The Fugue, 2. Magician, 3. Indy Point, 4. Little Mike. LONG SHOT: Real Solution.


TENTH RACE: 1. Private Zone, 2. Secret Circle, 3. Fast Bullet, 4. Laugh Track. LONG SHOT: Gentleman’s Bet.


ELEVENTH RACE: 1. Olympic Glory, 2. Wise Dane, 3. Za Approval, 4. No Jet Lag. LONG SHOT: Silentio.


TWELVETH RACE: 1. Mucho Mach Man, 2. Game On Dude, 3. Fort Larned, 4. Will Take Charge. LONG SHOT: Moreno.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Breeders' Cup, Horse racing, Santa Anita

California here we come … again

The groans can be heard from outside the state lines every time Santa Anita Park is named to host the Breeders’ Cup, thoroughbred racing’s championship days.

The Arcadia track will host the event for the seventh time in 30 years beginning on Friday with five races and continuing on Saturday with nine more races.

Santa Anita has already been named to host BC 31 next year, too.

The howls from those in the industry and fans always complain about a home-court advantage for California’s entries, but some Eastern horsemen don’t mind.

“They probably have the advantage, but we’ve done pretty well going out there,” said Hall of Fame trainer and New York-based Bill Mott last week on a national teleconference. “I’m happy enough to go make the trip out there. The weather is good; the turf is firm and the track seems to be bearing up. … I think most of the horses seem to have a fair chance.”

As Mott correctly later pointed out, if the Breeders’ Cup had been held in New York last year, Superstorm Sandy might have cancelled the proceedings and there was the year the event was held in a deluge at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J.

If truth be told, Californians may not have an advantage.

Only two of the 15 races were won last year by California-based horses when Mizdirection took the Turf Sprint and Beholder scored in the Juvenile Fillies. In 2009, four of the 14 races were taken by Golden State connections for a total of 21 percent winners the last two times the event was held in Arcadia.

When the draw was held for the 15 races only three California horses —- Mizdirection (4-1) trying to repeat in the Turf Sprint; Private Zone (3-1) in the Sprint and Game On Dude (8-5) in the Classic —- were made favorites by morning-line maker Jon White.

That doesn’t mean California couldn’t come up big. Nearly 33 percent of the horses entered (49 of 150) are based in California, but Bob Baffert, Game On Dude’s trainer, says it’s not the same racing surface from year to year or even on a daily basis.

“Santa Anita is real sandy, a loose track,” Baffert said. “It’s different from last year. It changes from day to day.”

That didn’t stop Baffert from entering eight horses this week —- Eastern-based Chad Brown entered an event-high 11. The silver-haired Baffert has big shots with Tap It Rich (6-1) in the Juvenile and Secret Circle (4-1) in the Sprint.

Trainer Richard Mandella won four races when the Breeders’ Cup was held at Santa Anita in 2003. He will be looking for double this year with Beholder (5-2) in the Distaff on Friday and Indy Point (9-2) in the Turf on Saturday.

The numbers say California’s best chances will come on Saturday when it has 50 percent (25 of 50) of the horses entered in the Filly and Mare Sprint, Turf Sprint, Juvenile and Mile.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Breeders' Cup, Horse racing, Santa Anita

Breeders’ Cup selections (early)

For those who don’t know, I also contribute selections to Horse Player NOW and had to give my selections by noon on Tuesday. Therefore as a disclaimer, I did a early selection process. I have not factored in workouts or a computer program I like to look at so I reserve the right to change my mind before my final selections are posted here on Thursday and Friday respectively.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Breeders’ Cup picks for Friday, Nov. 1


Ever Rider

Suns Out Guns Out





Giovanni Boldini

Wilshire Boulevard

Bobby’s Kitten

Bon Accord




Brujo de Olleros

Fed Biz

Broadway Empire





Ready to Act

My Conquestadory




Royal Delta

Princess of Sylmar



Breeders’ Cup picks for Saturday, Nov. 2



Secret Compass

Sweet Reason

Artemis Agrotera




Tiz Flirtatious





Sweet Lulu

Dance to Bristol

Teddy’s Promise

Book Review





Unbridled’s Note

Capo Bastone



New Year’s Day


Tap It Rich

Diamond Bachelor



The Fugue


Indy Point

Little Mike



Secret Circle

Private Zone

Fast Bullet

Laugh Track



Olympic Glory

Wise Dan

Za Approval

No Jet Lag



Mucho Macho Man

Will Take Charge

Game On Dude

Palace Malice

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Santa Anita picks for Thursday, Oct. 31

FIRST RACE: 1. Psalm Sixteen, 2. Miz Wounded Knee, 3. Totally Blonde. LONG SHOT: Pure Blush.


SECOND RACE: 1. Appearance, 2. Hot Bride, 3. Frandontjudge. LONG SHOT: Susans Express.


THIRD RACE: 1. Sinfully, 2. Square Dancer, 3. Under Review. LONG SHOT: Know More.


FOURTH RACE: 1. Hold Everything, 2. Kristo, 3. Cautious Giant. LONG SHOT: Juliet’s Tizzy.


FIFTH RACE: 1. Koast, 2. Carbonite, 3. Relentless Heat. LONG SHOT: Mr. Bossy Pants.

Jockey Joel Rosario, the former Southern California riding champ, returns this week to ride during Breeders’ Cup week and he has a few live mounts on the card. Agent Ron Anderson doesn’t put him on horses that don’t have a chance. Koast, a 4-year-old colt, turned in a disappointing effort in his return to the downhill turf course last time by finishing eighth. He had two lifetime wins in five tries on the course and looking to rebound here. He has a good work since that race plus Rosario and trainer John Sadler hit at 24% at Santa Anita.


SIXTH RACE: 1. Rail Trip, 2. Drill, 3. Rousing Sermon. LONG SHOT: Majestic City.


SEVENTH RACE: 1. Another Flashback, 2. Horsesanddivorces, 3. Cotton’s Point. LONG SHOT: Chimi Dee.


EIGHTH RACE: 1. SOPHIE’S SECRET (best bet), 2. Frannie’sspirittoo, 3. Glad’s Gals. LONG SHOT: Bright Town

Eastern-based jockey Luis Saez also comes in for Breeders’ Cup week and Sadler wastes no time putting the journeyman on this 3-year-old filly Sophie’s Secret. Saez knows how to get speed out of a horse and Sadler adds blinkers so it appears the filly will be pushed from the gate. She has been favored in six of her eight career races, but with a good work in tow maybe this is her day, finally.

Sunday’s top choice winners: 2 (Segway $6.80, first race; Be Proud $6, second; Global View $6.60, sixth)

Sunday’s second choice winners: 0

Sunday’s third choice winners: 4 (Tappingintherain $5.60, third; Horizontalyspeakin $6.20, fourth; Tiz the Truth $3.80; Harbaugh $5.80, ninth)

Sunday’s long show winners: 0

Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Breeders' Cup, Horse racing, Santa Anita

Draw kind to Breeders’ Cup favorites

The racing gods were kind to the favorites who were given their post positions for this week’s biggest Breeders’ Cup races —- the Classic and Distaff —- at Arcadia’s Santa Anita Park.

The same couldn’t be said for some of the other races on Friday and Saturday.

Game On Dude, a perfect 5-for-5 in 2013, drew the No. 9 spot on Monday for Saturday’s $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic and was installed as the 8-5 morning-line favorite. Defending Classic champion Fort Larned (6-1) drew the No. 7 post. The Classic is one of nine BC races on Saturday.

“You really need racing luck,” said Bob Baffert, Game On Dude’s trainer. “I like his outside post (No. 9). We didn’t want to be buried inside.”

Friday’s five races are headed by the $2 million Distaff, which features a small but star-studded field of six females. Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens called the draw for that 1 1/8-mile race “irrelevant” on Twitter.

Stevens will come out of the No. 5 hole with the 3-year-old filly Beholder (5-2) while favorites Royal Delta (8-5 and the two-time defending champ) and Princess of Sylmar (9-5), another 3-year-old filly, drew No. 4 and No. 6, respectively.

As for the rest of the races, the biggest loser might be the 2-year-old filly My Conquestadory (9-2), who drew the outside post in a field of 14 going 1 mile on Santa Anita’s turf course in Friday’s Juvenile Fillies Turf. Trainer Mark Casse said the draw was so bad for his undefeated filly that he might consider scratching.

“I haven’t been feeling well, and I can’t tell you that made my stomach feel any better,” said Casse. “I’ve been on the phone with Ernie (Semersky, owner of Conquest Stables) and we may not even run, but we’ll see.”

Trainer Doug O’Neill didn’t have any luck with the No. 12 draw for speedy Goldencents (4-1) in Friday’s Dirt Mile plus another speed horse, and morning-line favorite Verrazano (3-1), drew No. 10.

“(The 12 post for Goldencents) is the one post I wasn’t thrilled about, but as I thought about it, I think it will work out,” said O’Neill, who also has the favorite in Saturday’s Sprint with Private Zone (3-1), which drew No. 7.

Defending Turf Sprint champion Mizdirection (4-1), owned in part by radio talk show host Jim Rome, drew an advantageous No. 12 for Saturday’s race on Santa Anita’s famed downhill grass course.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Paynter works ‘great’ for BC Classic. The Dude to work Tuesday

From Ed Golden of the Santa Anita publicity department:

Paynter, Bob Baffert’s “other horse,” worked five furlongs in company Monday morning for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, going in a minute flat under jockey Martin Garcia. Workmate Den’s Legacy was given the identical time.

“He went awesome,” Baffert said of Paynter, who survived life-threatening ailments after winning the Grade I Haskell Invitational in 2012. “He really worked great today. In fact, both horses worked well.”

Game On Dude, the likely Classic favorite trained by Baffert, is scheduled to work Tuesday at Santa Anita for the $5 million Classic at 1 ¼ miles on Nov. 2. Pre-entries for the Breeders’ Cup races will be taken a week from today, Oct. 21.

Two Breeders’ Cup candidates trained by Steve Asmussen also worked on Santa Anita’s main track Monday, Justin Phillip (Sprint, five furlongs in 1:01, breezing), and Unbridled’s Note (Turf Sprint, five furlongs in 1:00.20). Argentine-bred Ever Rider (Marathon) worked four furlongs in 48.80 for Maria Munoz.

John Henry Stakes winner Indy Point worked six furlongs on Santa Anita’s firm turf course in 1:13.60. “He couldn’t look better,” trainer Richard Mandella said.

Breeders’ Cup candidates have special dispensation to work on turf Mondays and Fridays, rather than Santa Anita’s normal turf work days of Thursday and Saturday.

Mandella said Zenyatta Stakes winner Beholder is scheduled to breeze “Tuesday or Wednesday” as the two-year-old filly champion of 2012 prepares for the $2 million Distaff on Nov. 1.

Mike Smith appears loaded for bear in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Nov. 1 and 2. Agent Brad Pegram has the Hall of Fame jockey booked on Game On Dude in the Classic; Royal Delta in the Distaff; Points Offthebench in the Sprint; Little Mike in the Turf; Fascinating in the Juvenile Fillies; and Mizdirection in the Turf Sprint.

Horse racing, Santa Anita

Updated Santa Anita picks for Sunday Sept. 29

A little late but here are today’s picks.

FIRST RACE: 1. Billy Win, 2. Disarm, 3. Hazardous. Long shot: Judge Carr.


SECOND RACE: 1. Miss Personality, 2. Southern Sunshine, 3. Dancinginthestreet. Long shot: Total War.


THIRD RACE: 1. Bev N Bud, 2. Silver Wings, 3. Dunmore East. Long shot: Private Bounty.


FOURTH RACE: 1. Bluegrass Girls, 2. Classic Candy, 3. Little Unusual. Long shot: Visions of Candy.


FIFTH RACE: 1. Uncle Dick, 2. Tom’s Tribute, 3. Little Jerry. Long shot: Quiet Force.


SIXTH RACE: 1. Wasted At Midnight, 2. Hiumor Me, 3. Tappingintherain. Long shot: Hollywood Icon.


SEVENTH RACE: 1. Funny Gal, 2. Magestic Stinger, 3. Pat’s Back. Long shot: Anita Marie.


EIGHTH RACE: 1. HOLDING GLORY (Best bet), 2. Indy Point, 3. Vagabond Shoes. Long shot: Lucayan.

One real opinion is in Race 8: #2 Holding Glory: Trainer A C Avila desperately wanted to run the Brazilian bred on the turf at the Del Mar, but the owner wanted to run in the synthetic $1 million Pacific Classic. This 4-year-old certainly wasn’t disgraced in the Classic, finishing fifth behind Game On Dude, just a quarter of a length out of second place, but Avila gets his preferred surface today as Holding Glory won 4-of-6 in Brazil on the turf. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith takes over the mount.


NINTH RACE: 1. Justa Runner, 2. Wild Dude, 3. Derringer. Long shot: Ranulf.


10th RACE: 1. Flashy Dame, 2. Toppers Sunshine, 3. Dolphin Shorts. Long shot: Hair on Fire.


Saturday’s top choice winners: 5 (Secret Compass $23.40, 5th race; Tiz Flirtatious $5.40. 6th; Beholder $5.20, 9th; Mucho Macho Man $5.20, 10th; Pontchatrain $13, 11th)

Saturday’s second choice winners: 1 (All For Us $10.20, 2nd race)

Saturday’s third choices winners: 2 (Versye $28.20, 1st race; Topper’s Ghost $12, 2nd)

Saturday’s long shot winners: 0

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter