It’s been three decades since Alex Solis won his only Triple Crown race in a Hall of Fame career that began in 1982.

It was in 1986 when the native of Panama rode Snow Chief to victory in the Preakness, after the California-bred had finished 11th as the favorite behind Ferdinand and Bill Shoemaker in the Run for the Roses.

Solis remembers the Preakness triumph like it was yesterday.

“It was a great race,” said Solis, now 52, and a senior member of the Southern California riding colony along with Hall of Fame mates Gary Stevens, 53, Mike Smith, who turns 51 Aug. 10, and Kent Desormeaux, 46.

“I was happy Snow Chief redeemed himself in the Preakness,” Solis said. “His Derby was disappointing, but he proved himself before the Preakness with his win in the Santa Anita Derby and after the Preakness by winning the Jersey Derby.”

Snow Chief, trained by Mel Stute, would go on to earn an Eclipse Award as best Three-Year-Old of 1986. He retired as the then all-time Cal-bred money earner with $3,383,210.

As for tomorrow’s 141st Preakness at Pimlico, Solis is hopeful Nyquist can continue his unbeaten streak in the second jewel of the Triple Crown at a mile and three-sixteenths.

“I think it would be good for racing and I’d be happy for the California connections,” Solis said. “Doug O’Neill and his team have been there before (winning the Derby and Preakness with I’ll Have Another in 2012) and they know what they’re doing.”

The Preakness lineup: Cherry Wine, Corey Lanerie, 20-1; Uncle Lino, Fernando Perez, 20-1; Nyquist, Mario Gutierrez, 3-5; Awesome Speed, Jevian Toledo, 30-1; Exaggerator, Kent Desormeaux, 3-1; Lani, Yutaka Take, 30-1; Collected, Javier Castellano, 10-1; Laoban, Florent Geroux, 30-1; Abiding Star, J.D. Acosta, 30-1; Fellowship, Jose Lezcano, 30-1; and Stradivari, John Velazquez, 8-1.

First live post time at Santa Anita Preakness Day is 12 noon. Admission gates open at 8 a.m. The Paddock Room opens at 7:15 a.m.

Post time for the $1.5 million Preakness is 3:45 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time. It will air live on NBC-TV and the Horse Racing Radio Network.



            Second Summer has found his best form on the main track.

After running in five straight turf races and showing only a maiden victory, trainer Peter Eurton transferred the gelded son of 2009 Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird to the main track where he was second first out and has won his last two.

Sunday, he makes his second stakes start, this in the Grade II Californian Stakes for three-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles.

“He’s found the dirt quite to his liking, compared to the turf,” Eurton said. “He wasn’t making any kind of run in his last few on grass. I started to feel like he preferred some (turf courses) on the circuit but not others. He worked so well on dirt, we decided to try it.”

The Californian, race nine of 10: Crittenden, Flavien Prat; Lieutenant Colonel, Rafael Bejarano; Second Summer, Mario Gutierrez; Point Piper, Martin Garcia; El Huerfano, Victor Espinoza; Follow Me Crev, Alonso Quinonez; and Hard Aces, Abel Lezcano.



Veteran sprint campaigner Sahara Sky, winner of the Grade I Metropolitan Handicap at one mile in 2013, is one of three horses entered by Jerry Hollendorfer in Saturday’s Grade II Kona Gold Stakes for older horses at 6 ½ furlongs on the main track.

The other two are Dream Saturday and Wild Dude.

Sahara Sky, an eight-year-old full horse owned by Hollendorfer and Kim Lloyd, who races as Sweetwater Stable, was fifth in an overnight sprint at Golden Gate April 23, his first race since finishing fifth in the Grade II San Diego Handicap at 1 1/16 miles July 25, 2015, a span of nine months.

“He had a prep race up north and just came down a couple days ago. He looks great,” said Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward of Sahara Sky, a Florida-bred son of Pleasant Tap.

Added Hollendorfer on Dream Saturday: “We’ve had him a few months and he’s been training real well.”

Sahara Sky, who would benefit from a fast pace, was third in the Kona Gold last year. He has an 8-4-5 record from 25 starts, with earnings of $1,180,238.

The Kona Gold, race nine of 11: Wild Dude, Rafael Bejarano, 7-2; Souper Knight, Abel Lezcano, 20-1; Cautious Giant, Santiago Gonzalez, 10-1; Coastline, Tyler Baze, 7-2; Dream Saturday, Mike Smith, 12-1; Subtle Indian, Ramon Vazquez, 5-2; Sahara Sky, Martin Garcia, 8-1; and San Onofre, Edwin Maldonado, 3-1.

Cherubim and Kafister were scratched.



Richard Mandella has two entered in Saturday’s $75,000 Mizdirection Stakes for fillies and mares, three and up, at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf. He expects solid efforts from both Avenge and Off the Road.

Avenge, a four-year-old daughter of War Front, is three for four over the hillside course, winning the restricted Ultra Fleet last May. The Mizdirection will mark her first race since last June 27, when she was sixth after prompting the pace in the Grade III Senorita Stakes at one mile on grass.

Off the Road, a five-year-old Brazilian-bred mare, was second in the Grade III Las Cienagas which was taken off the turf and run on the main track due to weather conditions.

The Mizdirection lineup: Off the Road, Stewart Elliott, 12-1; So Sweetitiz, Mike Smith, 8-1; Velvet Mesquite, Tyler Baze, 5-1; My Year Is a Day, Brice Blanc, 12-1; Minks Aprise, Alex Solis, 15-1; Miss Double d’Oro, Santiago Gonzalez, 4-1; Home Journey, Martin Garcia, 4-1; Avenge, Flavien Prat, 5-1; and Swift Lady, Rafael Bejarano, 7-2.

Revenue Virginius was scratched.



(From Daily Racing Form)

Larry Weinbaum, a retired sportswriter and handicapper for several Southern California newspapers, died on Wednesday after a lengthy illness related to complications from a stroke, according to a close friend, public handicapper Bob Ike.

Weinbaum was 64.

A native of New York, Weinbaum lived in Southern California for much of his adult life. He earned a master’s degree in journalism at San Diego State and later worked for newspapers in Vista and Escondido in San Diego County, Ike said.

Weinbaum wrote about the San Diego Padres of Major League baseball and the San Diego Clippers of the NBA before the team moved to Los Angeles in the 1980s.

An avid racing fan, Weinbaum became a public handicapper for the San Diego Union-Tribune, Orange County Register and Riverside Press Enterprise.

No services were planned as of Thursday. Weinbaum is survived by a sister, Linda.


FINISH LINES: Taris, impressive winner of the Grade I Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs on May 7, worked four furlongs on Santa Anita’s fast main track Friday in 49.40 for the Grade I Vanity Mile June 4 and a potential meeting with champions Beholder and Stellar Wind. “It was her first breeze back since she raced and it was perfect,” trainer Simon Callaghan said. The millionaire daughter of Flatter doesn’t have to carry her track around with her. She has won eight of 13 career starts, seven of them at different tracks: Aqueduct, Laurel, Presque Isle Downs, Keeneland, Del Mar, Churchill Downs and Santa Anita . . . Flavien Prat, tied for fourth in Santa Anita’s standings through nine days, rides at Pimlico today . . . Agent Tony Matos has Martin Garcia booked on Cyrus Alexander for Jerry Hollendorfer in the Lone Star Handicap on Memorial Day, May 30. Garcia ranks second nationally percentage-wise in stakes wins this year at 27 (11 stakes wins from 42 mounts), behind Jose Ortiz‘s 30 percent . . . John Sadler plans to enter both Royal Heroine runner-up Elektrum and Royal Heroine winner Nancy From Nairobi in the Grade I Gamely Stakes for fillies and mares, three and up, at 1 1/8 miles on turf Memorial Day, May 30. Fanticola, third in the Royal Heroine after setting the pace as is her wont, also goes in the Gamely for Phil D’Amato under regular rider Joe Talamo . . . The California Horse Racing Board will conduct its regular monthly meeting Thursday, May 26, 9:30 a.m. at Santa Anita. The public is encouraged to attend. An audio-only web cast of the meeting can be heard through a link on the CHRB website (web cast). The meeting agenda and supporting package of materials also are available on the CHRB website . . . The Outlaw Jose Barnes: The 20-year-old apprentice rider from South Africa, Jose Barnes, pronounces his first name “JOE-zee,” not “HO-say.” . . . On Sunday, Santa Anita presents the Cal Rods Car Show, a free Infield event featuring some of the finest classics in the San Gabriel Valley for the 10th straight year. First post time is 2 p.m. Admission gates open at 11:30 a.m.

(Current Through Thursday, May 19)          
Jockey Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% ITM% Money Won  
Edwin Maldonado 40 11 7 5 28% 58% $346,371  
Rafael Bejarano 40 10 8 4 25% 55% $402,548  
Joseph Talamo 33 8 5 7 24% 61% $392,948  
Tyler Baze 48 7 8 12 15% 56% $372,060  
Flavien Prat 29 7 2 4 24% 45% $319,040  
Santiago Gonzalez 43 6 7 6 14% 44% $288,493  
Martin Garcia 22 5 4 2 23% 50% $297,670  
Tiago Pereira 37 3 7 9 8% 51% $147,263  
Martin Pedroza 27 3 3 4 11% 37% $117,930  
Fernando Perez 21 3 2 2 14% 33% $127,365  
Drayden Van Dyke 20 2 2 0 10% 20% $101,545  
Brayan Pena 20 2 1 4 10% 35% $47,725  
Ignacio Puglisi 9 2 1 1 22% 44% $42,313  
Trainer Sts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% ITM% Money Won  
Philip D’Amato 24 8 5 3 33% 67% $415,615  
John Sadler 23 5 0 3 22% 35% $284,105  
Jerry Hollendorfer 22 4 3 3 18% 45% $278,075  
Mike Puype 20 4 1 2 20% 35% $141,430  
Richard Baltas 17 3 3 1 18% 41% $126,198  
Mark Glatt 17 3 2 3 18% 47% $94,101  
Hector O. Palma 6 3 2 0 50% 83% $54,945  
Edward Freeman 6 3 1 1 50% 83% $84,865  
Patrick Gallagher 7 3 0 0 43% 43% $70,635  
Richard Mandella 12 2 2 3 17% 58% $145,075  
John Brocklebank 5 2 2 0 40% 80% $85,560  
Jack Carava 7 2 2 0 29% 57% $49,190  
Steven Miyadi 7 2 2 0 29% 57% $59,435  
Matthew Chew 4 2 1 0 50% 75% $41,945  
Michael McCarthy 5 2 1 0 40% 60% $80,845  
Peter Eurton 9 2 0 1 22% 33% $45,900  
David Hofmans 5 2 0 0 40% 40% $79,635