Champion two-year-old colt of 2015 Nyquist took another step closer to his three-year-old debut in the Grade II San Vicente Stakes Feb. 15, working six furlongs on Santa Anita’s fast main track Sunday in 1:15.60.

On yet another spectacular sun-filled morning, exercise rider Jonny Garcia was aboard the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner who is unbeaten in five starts.

“Jonny and all of us are happy with where Nyquist is right now,” said Doug O’Neill, who conditions the son of Uncle Mo for owners Paul and Zillah Reddam.

“We just have to keep him injury-free and that’s why his groom, Elias (Anaya), who is brilliant, earns the big bucks. He does a great job with him and keeps the horse happy.”

Added Doug’s brother, Dennis: “Nyquist was going in a two-minute gallop with Donworth before he broke off for the work, so technically, it was three-quarters, but he galloped a lot before he broke off to get some wind in him. He went great.”

Donworth got a six furlong time of 1:13.80.



            If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again is an adage that would apply for Phil D’Amato when the meet’s leading trainer enters Sunday Rules in Saturday’s $150,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Sprint at about 6 ½ furlongs on the downhill course.

It is one of five stakes offering a total of $1 million in prize money on what promises to be a festive day of racing featuring horses bred in The Golden State.

Sunday Rules had been scheduled to run in Saturday’s Grade II Santa Monica Stakes against open company, but a minor ailment forced D’Amato to make an 11th-hour change, opting for Saturday’s grass sprint.

Sunday Rules, a five-year-old daughter of the late Tribal Rule owned and bred by Nick Alexander, is one-for-one on turf, having captured a five-furlong overnight dash at Del Mar by a neck last Nov. 22. Overall, she is seven for eight, her other wins coming on dirt or synthetics.

“She’ll run either way,” D’Amato said. “The forecast is calling for rain but Mike Smith, who rode her when she won the Del Mar turf sprint, thought that with her stride, she’d love Santa Anita’s turf course even more, so that’s what we have her pointed for.”



Grazen Sky has a win and a third in two starts on turf, but in the opinion of Steve Miyadi, the four-year-old gray son of Grazen owned and bred by Nick Alexander should be perfect on the green.

As it is, he won the Silky Sullivan at a mile on a “good” course at Golden Gate last April, then was an eventful third, beaten just a length, in the nine-furlong Snow Chief on Santa Anita’s turf course a month later. In that race, Grazen Sky steadied at the quarter pole, but rallied in a field of 11.

“He should have won both races,” Miyadi allowed. “There was an inquiry when he ran in the Snow Chief and I think he was impacted by the incident.

“But that said, he is meeting much tougher horses Saturday than what he’s faced, so he’s going to have to step up his game to beat them.”

A gem of consistency, Grazen Sky has been out of the money only once in 13 lifetime starts. Overall, he has a 3-7-2 mark with earnings of $293,018.


FINISH LINES: There were 18 claims in for favored It Is Living Water in Saturday’s sixth race, but it wasn’t close to a record. “At Los Alamitos a couple years ago there were 33 or 34 claims in for a horse,” said trainer Jack Carava, who took the six-year-old Texas-bred gelding for $20,000 for a partnership of which he is a member. “I lost a horse at Del Mar one year when there were 28 claims in for it, and there have been multiple times when I’ve seen claims running into the 20’s.” . . . Trainer Richard Mandella expects Beholder back at his barn “probably at the end of the week. I sent her out to get the edge off, and she’ll be jogging in two weeks,” Mandella said.

The three-time Eclipse Award champion currently is preparing for her return to the track at Julie Adair-Stack‘s facility in Chino Hills . . . Agent Tora Yamaguchi reports Rafael Bejarano rode in six races and won two during his recent trip to Saudi Arabia. The perennial Southern California riding king is scheduled to resume riding at Santa Anita Thursday . . . Jockey Matt Garcia returns to the saddle tonight at Los Alamitos after an absence of nearly two-and-a-half years spent recovering from major injuries in a spill at Ferndale on Aug. 18, 2013. The 45-year-old rider is named on Lucky Cotton for trainer Kelly Castaneda in the first race, an 870-yard dash, and Papa’s Lil Willow for Gary Stute in the second at 4 ½ furlongs. “I had my last surgery in May of last year and I’ve been working horses the last 37 days to get fit,” Garcia said. “Riding is what I love.” . . . Santa Anita’s current leading jockey, Santiago Gonzalez, has been suspended three days (Jan. 29, 30 and 31) for causing interference on the first turn aboard Perfect Set in Friday’s third race, while Tiago Pereira also has been banned those three days for causing interference on Goodlookinwife in Friday’s fifth race . . . Kent Desormeaux, who was aboard Exaggerator Saturday for his seven furlong workout in 1:25.80 for the Feb. 15 San Vicente Stakes: “It was his best one since the Delta Jackpot. We’re ready to go.” . . . Despite saddling two monster longshots to victory Saturday, trainer Gary Sherlock did not have the life-changing Pick Six that paid $1,132,476. Sherlock sent out Karma King to take the fifth at a $36 return and then trumped himself big-time with Lost Bus, who won the Grade II Santa Monica Stakes by a head under Fernando Perez, paying $131.20. “I don’t know how he didn’t have it,” said perplexed fellow trainer Gary Stute . . . With championship games on tap in both the AFC and NFC today, Norm Kelley, former Race & Sports Director at Sam’s Town, Las Vegas, advises “take the over (44 ½) in the Broncos-Patriots game.”


(Current Through Saturday, Jan. 23)
Jockey Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% ITM% Money Won
Santiago Gonzalez 101 21 14 9 21% 44% $772,648
Rafael Bejarano 75 16 14 8 21% 51% $810,130
David Lopez 69 13 5 12 19% 43% $380,008
Edwin Maldonado 63 11 5 8 17% 38% $343,010
Flavien Prat 67 10 4 12 15% 39% $511,578
Tyler Baze 91 9 17 11 10% 41% $482,792
Joseph Talamo 73 9 10 10 12% 40% $448,564
Mario Gutierrez 76 8 15 7 11% 39% $444,724
Fernando Perez 68 8 4 11 12% 34% $424,026
Martin Garcia 44 5 5 7 11% 39% $346,414
Drayden Van Dyke 45 5 5 6 11% 36% $309,304
Martin Pedroza 38 5 2 1 13% 21% $94,190
Kent Desormeaux 34 4 7 5 12% 47% $330,220
Agapito Delgadillo 29 4 5 3 14% 41% $119,554
Mike Smith 41 4 3 5 10% 29% $458,860
Gary Stevens 22 4 2 0 18% 27% $496,680
Trainer Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% ITM% Money Won
Philip D’Amato 42 8 7 9 19% 57% $488,820
Doug O’Neill 65 7 9 12 11% 43% $371,302
Bob Baffert 37 7 5 8 19% 54% $448,820
Richard Baltas 43 7 5 3 16% 35% $462,774
Peter Miller 46 7 3 3 15% 28% $252,630
William Spawr 16 6 4 1 38% 69% $146,914
Peter Eurton 31 4 10 5 13% 61% $202,160
Jerry Hollendorfer 51 4 5 8 8% 33% $277,152
Kristin Mulhall 15 4 2 1 27% 47% $153,710
Mark Glatt 32 4 2 1 13% 22% $132,920
Jeff Bonde 12 4 2 0 33% 50% $94,260
Vladimir Cerin 11 4 1 2 36% 64% $111,550
J. Keith Desormeaux 20 4 0 6 20% 50% $101,170