COMPETITIVE FIELD OF NINE 3-YEAR-OLDS AND UP HEADLINE 11-RACE CARD THAT STARTS AT 11:30 A.M. ON KENTUCKY DERBY DAY
ARCADIA, Calif. (April 29, 2015)–Defending champ Fury Kapcori and Argentine-bred Catch a Flight head a competitive field of nine 3-year-olds and up in the Grade III, $100,000 Precisionist Stakes to be contested at 1 1/16 miles on Saturday, Kentucky Derby Day, at Santa Anita. The Precisionist will be run as the 10th race on an 11-race card, which gets underway at 11:30 a.m.
Trained and owned in-part by Jerry Hollendorfer, Fury Kapcori was a scintillating 5 ¾ length gate to wire winner of last year’s Precisionist, but he has been winless in three subsequent starts, including a disappointing last place effort at even money in a six furlong classified allowance at Golden Gate Fields on March 29–his first start in nine months.
With Rafael Bejarano, who guided him to four consecutive wins last year away to ride Saturday in Kentucky, the 5-year-old horse by Tiznow will be ridden for the first time by Drayden Van Dyke. Owned by Hollendorfer, Rick Awtrey and George Todaro, Fury Kapcori figures to be sent from the gate as he tries to recapture his form of a year ago. With two wins and two seconds at a mile and a sixteenth, he’s 17-6-5-1 overall with earnings of $520,790.
Hollendorfer will also be represented by Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams’ homebred Rousing Sermon who comes off a fifth place run at 5-1 in the Santana Mile Stakes March 29. A California-bred earner of $818,072, he has six wins from 33 starts and will likely employ come from behind tactics on Saturday.
Trained by Richard Mandella, Catch a Flight attended the pace in the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap on March 7, but never posed a threat while running third to Shared Belief, who defeated the Argentine-bred by 4 ¼ lengths. A neck winner of a mile and one eighth allowance at Santa Anita two starts back on Feb. 13, Catch a Flight, who has always been highly regarded in the Mandella camp, will make his fourth stateside start in the Precisionist.
Owned by Haras Santa Maria de Araras, Inc., Catch a Flight is a 5-year-old horse by Giant’s Causeway who won sprinting on turf in Brazil and at a flat mile on dirt. The Precisionist will be his first try at 1 1/16 miles. With earnings of $213,239, his overall mark stands at 13-7-0-3.
Trainer Darrell Vienna’s Mystery Train lends depth to the fray, as he returns to Santa Anita following a close second in the Grade III, 1 1/16 miles Mineshaft Handicap at Fairgrounds in New Orleans Feb. 21. A 5-year-old Argentine-bred ridgling, Mystery Train tried gate to wire tactics in the Mineshaft and could pose problems for Fury Kapcori on the front end Saturday.
Owned by Red Baron’s Barn, LLC and Rancho Temescal, Mystery Train was a Group I winner at 1 ¼ miles in Argentina, but is winless in four stateside tries. He’s 23-8-5-3, with earnings of $451,007.
Trainer Bob Hess’s Blue Tone comes off an authoritative 2 ¾ length win in the Santana Mile Stakes March 29, and would relish a stalking trip on Saturday with Bay Area-based Abel Cedillo in to ride. Owned by Engelberg, Schroeder Farms, LLC and Jan Steeper, Blue Tone is 5-2-2-1 at 1 1/16 miles. A 6-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Birdstone, he’s 14-5-3-2 overall with earnings of $338,150.
Overmatched at 11-1 in the Grade II, 1 1/8 miles Oaklawn Handicap April 11, trainer Doug O’Neill’s Sammy Mandeville was a lights-out 6 ½ length allowance winner coming from far off the pace in a 1 1/16 miles allowance at Santa Anita March 6 and would benefit greatly from a fast pace. A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by Rock Hard Ten, he’s owned by W.C. Racing and is 12-2-2-1 with earnings of $146,912.
Claimed two starts back for $40,000 on March 8, trainer Ted West Jr.’s Motown Men seeks his first stakes win and sports a solid last-out Beyer Speed figure of 103, the result of dazzling 7 ½ length second condition allowance win at a flat mile on April 10. A 6-year-old California-bred gelding by Decarchy, he’s owned by Gulliver Racing, LLC and is 27-5-6-4 with earnings of $282,459. He’ll be ridden back by a red-hot Tyler Baze.
Dorine and John R. Lanza’s homebred Magic Mark has been idle since running a close third in a one mile allowance Feb. 20 and could help fuel a hot pace as his two wins from four starts at the distance have come when on or near the lead. Conditioned by high percentage Ron Ellis, Magic Mark, a 5-year-old California-bred gelding by Benchmark, has four wins from 11 starts and seeks his first stakes win. He has earnings of $190,604.
Admission gates open at 7:15 a.m. on Saturday for simulcast wagering on races from Churchill Downs and around the country. The Grade III Precisionist will be run as the 10th race on an 11-race program, which gets underway with first live race post time at 11:30 a.m. The complete Precisionist field with jockeys and weights, in post position order is as follows: Sammy Mandeville, Alex Solis, 119; Fury Kapcori, Drayden Van Dyke, 121; Rousing Sermon, Corey Nakatani, 119; Appealing Tale, Edwin Maldonado, 119; Catch a Flight, Flavien Prat, 119; Mystery Train, Santiago Gonzalez, 121; Blue Tone, Abel Cedillo, 119; Magic Mark, Fernando Perez, 119, and Motown Men, Tyler Baze, 119.