- KENT TO WORK EXAGGERATOR AT BELMONT PARK
- TEMPERATURE FOR NYQUIST STEADY AS SHE GOES
- SNOW CHIEF STAKES DISTANCE SUITS TOUGH IT OUT
- CHEEKABOO TACKLES 2-5 ENOLA GRAY IN MELAIR
- SONGFORJOHNMICHAEL CAN RATE IN TIZNOW STAKES
- DISTANCE SUITS LILY KAI IN FRAN’S VALENTINE
- FOREST CHATTER READY FOR LENNYFROMALIBU
KENT DESORMEAUX TO WORK EXAGGERATOR AT BELMONT
Santa Anita Derby winner Exaggerator will have his regular rider, Kent Desormeaux, aboard in his only major work at Belmont Park next week for the final jewel in the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes on June 11.
“Nothing has changed with Exaggerator between yesterday to today,” trainer and part owner Keith Desormeaux said Friday morning at Santa Anita. “He’s still cold and tight, and he only walked today (at Pimlico). He’ll train Saturday and go to Belmont Sunday. Next week I’m trying to decide whether to breeze on Saturday (June 4) or Tuesday (June 7).”
Keith had been mulling whether to have Aaron Gryder or younger brother Kent work Exaggerator, but decided on Kent.
“As I think about it,” he said, “we might as well get Kent there to work him. It will keep him busy, unless he’s got some plans that I don’t know about.”
TEMPERATURE, BLOOD COUNT STEADY FOR NYQUIST, WHO RETURNS JUNE 5
Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist remained on the road to recovery Friday from a fever that will prevent him from running in the Belmont Stakes and yet another meeting with Exaggerator, who handed Nyquist his first defeat in last Saturday’s Preakness after eight straight victories.
“I just got a text from Jack Sisterson (at Pimlico),” Doug O’Neill assistant Leandro Mora said Friday morning at Santa Anita. “He said Nyquist’s temperature is fine and normal for the second day in a row, his blood count is coming back to where it was and he’s eating normally, so we’re all very happy.”
O’Neill said Thursday Nyquist will return to Santa Anita a week from Sunday, June 5.
D’AMATO HOPES TO CASH IN ON GOLD RUSH DAY
Leading trainer Phil D’Amato has six horses entered on Saturday’s rich California Gold Rush Day card featuring five stakes races for horses bred or sired in California, including Tough It Out in the $200,000 Snow Chief Stakes for three-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on turf and Sheer Pleasure in the $125,000 Fran’s Valentine Stakes for older fillies and mares at one mile on turf.
“Both are doing great,” said D’Amato, atop the trainers’ standings with 11 wins, five more than Jerry Hollendorfer, Mike Puype and John Sadler, each tied with six.
“The mile and an eighth distance should be perfect for Tough It Out. He’s won on the grass before and been second once, so I like this spot for him.
“Sheer Pleasure came out of her second-place finish to Beholder (in the Grade III Adoration on May 8) in great shape. I think going back against Cal-breds will make the difference in getting her a win.”
The Snow Chief field: Ralis, Mario Gutierrez, 5-2; The Big Train, Santiago Gonzalez, 15-1; Glory Bound, Edwin Maldonado, 10-1; Midnight Ming, Rafael Bejarano, 5-1; Tough It
Out, Joe Talamo, 2-1; and Gold Rush Dancer, Flavien Prat, 9-5.
CHEEKABOO TO ‘RUN HER OWN RACE’ IN MELAIR
On paper, Enola Gray’s five rivals appear to be running for second in Saturday’s $200,000 Melair Stakes for three-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles.
That’s the opinion of Peter Eurton, who trains 5-1 morning line chance Cheekaboo.
“Whoever beats Enola Gray wins the race,” Eurton said, “and there’s no speed to go with her, but I’m just going to run my own race and see what happens.”
The Melair: Enola Gray, Tyler Baze, 2-5; Allsquare, Joe Talamo, 10-1; Cheekaboo, Rafael Bejarano, 5-1; Hacktivism, Mario Gutierrez, 8-1; The Spiral Jetter, Santiago Gonzalez, 12-1; and Shy Carmelita, Martin Garcia, 6-1.
HENDRICKS EYES ‘GOOD TRIP’ IN TIZNOW STAKES
Songforjohnmichael showed speed in the Santana Mile on April 2 before finishing third in a solid performance.
Trainer Dan Hendricks feels the son of Songandaprayer can stalk if need be in Saturday’s $150,000 Tiznow Stakes for older horses at a flat mile.
“He usually rates,” Hendricks said. “He had the rail in the Santana Mile and broke so well that it kind of put him in front.
“I think if he gets a good trip Saturday, it will result in a good race.”
The Tiznow: Howdy, Mario Gutierrez, 6-1; Boozer, Edwin Maldonado, 5-2; Songforjohnmichael, Joe Talamo, 2-1; Avanti Bello, Rafael Bejarano, 8-1; Indygo Holiday, Fernando Perez, 15-1; Soi Phet, Kent Desomreaux, 4-1; and Skookum Spirit, Stewart Elliott, 9-2.
DISTANCE SUITS LILY KAI IN FRAN’S VALENTINE
Mike Machowsky has two horses entered in Saturday’s $125,000 Fran’s Valentine Stakes for fillies and mares, four and up, at a mile on turf, Madam Mousse and Lily Kai, each making her stakes debut.
All but one of Lily Kai’s nine career starts have come on grass. The four-year-old daughter of Unusual Heat won by nearly two lengths going 1 1/16 miles on turf at Golden Gate Fields on May 1.
“The race should set up well for her,” Machowsky said. “There’s a lot of speed in there and both fillies are doing really well, but I think it will set up good for Lily Kai.”
The field for the Fran’s Valentine: Smoove It, Mario Gutierrez, 3-1; Nite Delite, Stewart Elliott, 12-1; Sheer Pleasure, Martin Garcia, 7-2; Madame Mousse, Santiago Gonzalez, 10-1; Lily Kai, Dryden Van Dyke, 8-1; Bert’s Melody, Brice Blanc, 5-1; Velvet Mesquite, Tyler Baze, 9-2; and Singing Kitty, Rafael Bejarano, 4-1.
FOREST CHATTER ‘SHOULD BE READY’ FOR LENNYFROMALIBU
Forest Chatter is the 6-5 morning line favorite to resume his winning ways on Santa Anita’s downhill turf course when he runs in Saturday’s $100,000 Lennyfromalibu Stakes for four-year-olds and up.
The five-year-old gelded son of Dixie Chatter trained by Richard Mandella has won five of six over the course, losing for the only time on Feb. 27 when third in the Sensational Star under Mike Smith, who has ridden him in 11 of his 12 career starts.
“That was a good race,” Smith said of the Sensational Star. “It was his first race back (since running fourth in the Cary Grant on dirt at Del Mar Nov. 22). “It was a good third, he needed that race and he should really be ready for this one. Plus, he likes the hill.
“You couldn’t ask for anything else. He’s just got to be good enough and get the trip.”
The field: Forest Chatter, Mike Smith, 6-5; Pay the Fine, Mario Gutierrez, 9-2; Ambitious Brew, Flavien Prat, 7-5; Old Man Lake, Tyler Baze, 12-1; and K Thirty Eight, Edwin Maldonado, 6-1.
FINISH LINES: With his half-length victory aboard two-year-old first-time starter Theonewewaitedfor for trainer Mike Harrington in Thursday’s first race, Edwin Maldonado took the lead in the jockeys’ race, 14-13 over runners-up Tyler Baze and Rafael Bejarano. “Everything’s going well,” said Maldonado’s agent, J.R. Pegram, who also represents Kent Desormeaux, winner of the Santa Anita Derby and Preakness Stakes on Exaggerator . . . Taris, prepping for either the Grade I Triple Bend Stakes against males on June 25 or the Grade I Vanity Mile against her own sex June 4, worked five furlongs Friday in 1:01.20. “I’m really, really happy with her work,” trainer Simon Callaghan said. “It was just what I was looking for. She moved great. I’d say right now it’s 50-50 for one of the two races.” Taris was clocked in 48.80 for the half mile . . . Trainer Peter Eurton has Palos Verdes and San Carlos winner Kobe’s Back on course for the Triple Bend . . . San Felipe Stakes winner Danzing Candy had his first work since moving from Cliff Sise Jr. to Bob Baffert, going four furlongs with Mike Smith up in 47.60. Danzing Candy galloped out five furlongs in 1:01 . . . Santa Anita races through Monday, Memorial Day, but will be dark for live racing next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, May 31, June 1 and June 2. Live racing resumes Friday, June 3 at 2 p.m.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Thursday, May 26)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||28||3||3||3||11%||32%||$159,860|
|Hector O. Palma||8||3||3||0||38%||75%||$59,490|