• CALIFORNIA CHROME DRILLS FOR SAN ANTONIO
  • BEJARANO, WILD DUDE SET FOR PALOS VERDES
  • BAFFERT COULD ENTER THREE IN LAS VIRGENES
  • DESORMEAUX DREAMIN’ DERBY WITH TEXAS RED
  • THE TRUMAN SHOW IS IN PERPETUAL RERUNS

 

CHROME SET FOR SAN ANTONIO; BAYERN ‘DOUBTFUL’

Horse of the Year California Chrome worked a mile in 1:41.40, breezing, at his Los

Alamitos headquarters Sunday morning as he moves ever closer to his 4-year-old debut in the $500,000 San Antonio Stakes on Feb. 7.

Under regular rider Victor Espinoza and wearing blinkers on a cleared race track, Los Alamitos head clocker Russ Hudak caught the Kentucky Derby winner in fractions of 25 3/5, 51 flat, 1:03 2/5, 1:15 3/5 and 1:29 for seven furlongs.

“He looked good,” Hudak said. “He came to the wire under a nice hold.”

Added Alan Sherman, son of and assistant to his father, trainer Art Sherman: “It was a very good work. I’m really, really happy with him.”

Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Bayern, meanwhile, has been virtually ruled out of the San Antonio. “I had to get a work into him last week (but didn’t),” Baffert said. “Right now it’s pretty doubtful he’s going to make the race. I don’t want to rush him into it.

“He looks good now, but you can’t run against those horses unless you’re at least 90 percent.” Bayern is recovering from an abscess on his hind foot.

Shared Belief, male 2-year-old champion of 2013 and winner of seven of eight starts, is scheduled to breeze at his Golden Gate base on Tuesday for the San Antonio, which will be televised nationally on FOX Sports 1.

            And these bullet points on California Chrome complements of Tracy Gantz of the Blood-Horse:

  • First Cal-bred to win both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.
  • Fourth Cal-bred to win the Derby, after Morvich in 1922, Swaps in 1955, and

Decidedly in 1962.

  • Launched his championship season with a victory in the California Cup Derby on Cal

Cup Day, a day dedicated to California-breds.

  • Received a resolution from the California state legislature after his Derby and

Preakness, recognizing his accomplishments.

  • Won four derbies at three different tracks: California Cup Derby and Santa Anita

Derby at Santa Anita; Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs; and Hollywood Derby at Del Mar.

  • Is the fourth-leading Cal-bred money earner of all time, behind only Tiznow, Best

Pal, and Lava Man (all of whom campaigned beyond their 3-year-old seasons. California Chrome could conceivably pass all three).

           

BEJARANO OFF AND WINNING AGAIN AT SANTA ANITA

Rafael Bejarano is off and flying in quest of his 12th overall (sixth Winter Meet) Santa Anita riding title and his 21st in Southern California.

The 31-year-old Peruvian, who has dominated the circuit since arriving full time at Hollywood Park in mid-November 2007 to ride for the late Bobby Frankel, hopes to add to his extensive laurels when he rides Wild Ride for Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer in Saturday’s Grade II Palos Verdes Stakes for older horses at six furlongs.

“He always likes to come from behind,” said Bejarano, who has ridden the Florida-bred son of Wildcat Heir in seven of his 10 career starts, the last four in a row, including last year’s Palos Verdes. Wild Dude has never finished worse than fourth while earning $320,220.

Wild Dude has not raced since last April, when he was beaten a nose in the Grade II Potrero Grande Stakes, but has been working forwardly for his return.

“I don’t know how much speed will be in the race, but hopefully we’ll have a good trip,” Bejarano said. “I worked him the other day (six furlongs in a bullet 1:11.60 on Jan. 22). He went really well.”

Bejarano also is going “really well.” Through 19 racing days, he holds a 24-15 lead over runner-up Kent Desormeaux. He also is second nationally in purse earnings through Jan. 22 with $795,608.

“So far, so good,” Bejarano said.

In other Palos Verdes news:

Working in blinkers under Martin Garcia, 2013 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Secret Circle went four furlongs in company Sunday morning with Pimpernel. Each was clocked in 46.20.

“He worked very well,” Baffert said of Secret Circle, who will race in blinkers for only the second time in 15 career starts in the Palos Verdes.

Probable for the Palos Verdes: Big Macher, Chief Lion, Conquest Two Step, Distinctiv Passion, Secret Circle and Wild Dude.

Big Macher worked five furlongs this morning in 1:00.40 under Tyler Baze, who regains the mount in the Palos Verdes. Bejarano rode Big Macher to a neck victory in the Cary Grant at Del Mar on Nov. 23, but is committed to Wild Dude in the Palos Verdes.

Big Macher initially was slated to run in Saturday’s Cal Cup Sprint but scratched, leaving Bejarano on Wild Dude and Big Macher open. Baze won the Grade I Bing Crosby on Big Macher at Del Mar last July.

Baze, meanwhile, was handed a three-day suspension (Jan. 31, Feb. 1 and 5) for altering course without sufficient clearance aboard Alert Bay, who won yesterday’s California Cup Turf Classic by a neck. After a lengthy inquiry and a claim of foul by Bejarano, who finished eighth on G.G. Ryder, the stewards, in a split decision, did not alter the order of finish.

 

BAFFERT COULD HAVE THREE FOR THE LAS VIRGENES MONEY

Bob Baffert could enter as many as three horses for Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Las Virgenes Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at one mile, a race he has won three times before, with Eden’s Moon (2012), Composure (2003) and Excellent Meeting (1999).

They would be Callback, Fantastic Style and Maybellene.

“The mile might be a little bit long for Fantastic Style,” Baffert said. “It’s coming back a little soon (from her maiden win on Jan. 19). Callback (second in the Grade II Santa Ynez on Jan. 3) is a light filly, but some horses come back quicker than others. I’m just watching her this week. I have three that I might enter.

“Maybellene for sure if all goes well. The others, you hate to run them back too quick, so we’ll have to see.”

Probable for the Las Virgenes: Achiever’s Legacy, Fantastic Style, Majestic Presence, Maybellene, Mio Me, Miss Mandate and Rainha Da Bateria.

 

TEXAS RED ‘ON THE GROW’ FOR SAN VICENTE

What’s the expression? You can never be too rich or too thin. Add this one: As a jockey, you can never win the Kentucky Derby too many times.

Kent Desormeaux, a three-time winner of the Run for the Roses, has designs on No. Four with Texas Red, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner trained by his older brother. Keith, who has the son of Afleet Alex ticketed for next Sunday’s Grade II San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs, in which he’ll make his 3-year-old debut.

“He’s growing, getting stronger and smarter,” said Kent, who worked the bay colt five furlongs Saturday in 1:01.40. “He’s maturing wisely.”

Probable for the San Vicente: Conquest Harlanday, Lord Nelson, Magic Taste, Punctuate, Serbian Syclone, Sir Samson, Texas Red and Tizcano.

 

EMOTIONAL CAL CUP VICTORY FOR JOURNEYMAN PUGLISI

Saturday’s victory in the California Cup Sprint was an emotional one for Ignacio Puglisi.

The journeyman jockey rode Spirit Rules to a half-length, 12-1 upset over odds-on favorite San Onofre in the six furlong race that offered a $150,000 purse. In a career that began in 1990, Puglisi has virtually ridden below the radar for a quarter-century, showing 780 career wins from 6,898 rides.

“Spirit Rules is a hard-knocking horse,” said the 40-year-old Puglisi, known to friends as Iggy, and a long-time friend and associate of Paul Aguirre, who trains the 6-year-old Tribal Rule gelding for a partnership.

“We tried a couple things with the horse in the past,” said Puglisi, a native of Rosario, Argentina. “We tried him on grass, a route, and he went to Fresno once, but he didn’t like the track. Yesterday, he was just really spot-on.             “I ride a lot of Paul’s horses. He’s been one of the guys who believes in me, sticks by me, trusts my opinion on where his horses might fit. We just really get along. I can’t thank him enough.

“This is a house horse they own a part of, so I couldn’t be happier. I was literally in tears when they were walking me into the Winner’s Circle.”

WINNING IS APPRECIATED BY EDDIE TRUMAN

On a picture-post card Sunday morning at Clockers’ Corner, Team Truman was basking in the afterglow of Go West Marie’s victory under Gary Stevens in Saturday’s $150,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint.

“It doesn’t get any better than this,” said trainer Eddie Truman, who celebrated his 68th birthday on Friday and has 11 horses in training. “This is perfect. Being out here at Santa Anita in this setting and to win a big race like this, it’s perfect.

“It’s an accumulation of good things that we’re really enjoying,” Truman continued, in the presence of Bryan Anderson and his wife, Carol, he the manager of owner Peter Redekop’s horses, two of which won yesterday, the other being Alert Bay in the California Cup Turf Classic.

“We were surprised at her price on the morning line (12-1), but you could see it. She was shortening up from a distance race, but she did run lights out. Gary had settled her and showed a new dimension that was just fantastic, so we were encouraged with Saturday’s race having so much speed in it.

“Bryan was a lot more encouraged than I was, and he called the shot that it might set up just right for us. But as far as strategy, we just let it up to Gary. With jockeys like Gary and Kent (Desormeaux), Go West Marie is a rider’s horse, because you can do anything you want.

“If something happens, it’s your fault; it’s not hers. With a lot of horses, you’ve got to play their game and go along with them. With her, Gary’s got her figured out and he loves her.”

The Andersons have a ranch in Fort Langley, British Columbia. They were voted Outstanding Breeders’ in Canada in 2005.

For Eddie Truman, meanwhile, the beat goes on in this, his 45th year as a trainer.

FINISH LINES: “Medical Miracle” Tough Sunday ran seventh and last as the 7-2second choice in Saturday’s California Cup Derby but apparently will live to race another day. “He had a rough trip,” trainer Steve Miyadi said Sunday morning, “but he’s walking all right. We’re just going to regroup.” . . . Trainer Bob Hess Jr. said Mischief Clem came out of his head victory in the California Cup Derby in good order. “Touch wood, he’s been the healthiest good one I’ve trained in decades,” Hess said. “We’ll look for a race somewhat tougher, but not too much tougher.” . . . While Jerry Hollendorfer was blanked on Sunshine Millions California Cup Day, he ranks first nationally in purse earnings through Jan. 22 with $994,746. . . A reminder that a Celebration of Life for renowned equine veterinarian Dr. Jack Robbins, who died at 93 in November, will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. this Tuesday at Del Mar’s Turf Club . . . Condolences to family and friends of horse owner Gary Dimkich, who died unexpectedly last night at his Arcadia home at the age of 68. He is survived by his wife, Leah, two daughters and two granddaughters. Services are pending. A regular at Clockers’ Corner, Dimkich attended the races yesterday and was always ready with a friendly greeting. Clockers’ Corner loses a touch of warmth with his passing.

SANTA ANITA STATISTICS              
             
(Current Through Saturday, Jan. 24)        
Jockey Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% Money Won  
Rafael Bejarano 95 24 17 14 25% $1,129,714  
Kent Desormeaux 66 15 7 8 23% $870,238  
Tyler Baze 106 12 9 16 11% $819,978  
Elvis Trujillo 77 12 9 6 16% $725,266  
Victor Espinoza 64 11 13 6 17% $688,930  
Martin Pedroza 64 9 13 5 14% $352,590  
Drayden Van Dyke 79 9 7 11 11% $502,836  
Mike Smith 46 8 9 7 17% $677,011  
Corey Nakatani 49 8 7 7 16% $448,530  
Gary Stevens 36 8 5 6 22% $463,830  
             
Trainer Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% Money Won  
Jerry Hollendorfer 62 15 9 7 24% $1,320,664  
Peter Miller 54 12 12 6 22% $681,056  
Doug O’Neill 55 6 6 7 11% $321,760  
Peter Eurton 30 6 4 6 20% $301,308  
Mark Glatt 28 5 5 5 18% $256,346  
Mark Casse 25 5 4 4 20% $367,960  
Bob Baffert 35 4 8 5 11% $494,418  
John Sadler 42 4 6 8 10% $272,716  
Philip D’Amato 24 4 4 5 17% $230,280  
Michael Pender 14 4 3 0 29% $119,190  
Eddie Truman 7 4 0 1 57% $167,780