- SANTA ANITA HOSTS BREEDERS’ CUP NOV. 4 & 5
- CHAMPION STELLAR WIND WORKS FOR HIRSCH
- SMITH BACK HOME FOLLOWING BELMONT SCORE
- SECURITY’S MIKE JACOBELLIS RETIRES TODAY
- DERBY WINNER NYQUIST BREEZES TOMORROW
HOME COURSE ADVANTAGE FOR BREEDERS’ CUP?
Santa Anita hosts the Breeders’ Cup World championships for an unprecedented ninth time come Nov. 4 and 5.
Whether it can be a home course advantage or not depends on who you talk to. Trainer Ron Ellis, for one, says there is a benefit in not shipping and running on a track just a hundred yards away in your own back yard.
“I think it’s similar to a football team that doesn’t have to play on the road,” said Ellis, who hopes to have his crack sprinter, Masochistic, ready for either the Dirt Mile or the Sprint.
“While they’re not necessarily creatures of habit, athletes and horses seem more comfortable in familiar surroundings. The home teams don’t have to travel, nor do horses based at Santa Anita, and that can reduce intangibles such as stress, which doesn’t help.”
Bob Baffert, whose horses have flown worldwide, says it makes no never mind to him and his stock.
“It’s more of an economic advantage than anything,” said the Hall of Fame trainer who has made Santa Anita his base of operations for more than two decades. “You don’t have to spend any extra money shipping because the horses are here.
“There might be a horse or two that wouldn’t have shipped well, but otherwise, I don’t think it’s a big deal. If you have good horses, they’ll come through. All my horses ship well. I ship a lot and they’re used to it. My success rate is pretty high.”
CHAMP STELLAR WIND IN ‘EXCELLENT’ DRILL
Stellar Wind, champion three-year-old filly of 2015, worked six furlongs in company under Victor Espinoza Sunday in 1:14.20 as she prepares for a rematch with three-time Eclipse Award winner Beholder in the Grade I Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar July 30.
Beholder and Stellar Wind ran one-two in the Grade I Vanity Mile at Santa Anita June 4.
John Sadler, who trains Stellar Wind for the Hronis brothers, Kosta and Peter, had Carnival Lights as her workmate. She was clocked in 1:15.80.
“It was an excellent work,” Espinoza said of Stellar Wind. “She was brilliant today. Now she’s ready to go. The Vanity got her fit for the next race and even though it’s against Beholder who’s a champ, too, you never know what will happen. Stellar Wind is doing great.”
The Vanity was Stellar Wind’s first race since last Oct. 30, when she finished a troubled second by a neck in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Keeneland.
SMITH RETURNS FOLLOWING SUBURBAN WIN AT BELMONT PARK
Mike Smith, who joined fellow Hall of Famer Gary Stevens for a special Beholder/Songbird poster signing prior to Sunday’s races, was still “feeling it” following his big win aboard Effinex in Saturday’s Grade I, mile and a quarter Suburban Handicap yesterday at Belmont Park.
“When he puts it all together, he’s a serious horse. He can run with the best of the best,” said Smith of the Jimmy Jerkins trainee who is pointing to an eventual engagement in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 5. “He can beat ’em when he puts his mind to it; he’s just not always in a stable frame of mind (jokingly).”
Yesterday he was on and ran brilliant . . . Belmont’s a funny track. The size of the track, the turns . . . You can pull the trigger way too soon there and it can play tricks on you . . . but I’ve been there since the ’80s, so it helps to know it. I love going, but I love coming back!”
MIKE JACOBELLIS TURNS IN BADGE TODAY
After serving for 10 years with Santa Anita Security, which was preceded by a 32-year run with LAPD, Mike Jacobellis will retire from The Great Race Place today and be honored in a Winner’s Circle ceremony following the fourth race.
A graduate of Alhambra High School, Jacobellis, who is currently an Area Manager overseeing plain-clothed personnel, leaves a legacy of good will with fans, jockeys, horsemen and fellow employees.
“We are very fortunate to have had Mike on staff for the past 10 years,” said Santa Anita Chief of Security, Lou Scalera. “Mike gets along with everyone and he’s an outstanding cop. He retired from LAPD as a Detective Sergeant and he pays attention and follows up on things in a very professional manner.
“Although he’s leaving us to spend more time with his family, we will have him here for the Breeders’ Cup in November and we hope to have him next year on big days, like the Santa Anita Derby and the Big ‘Cap.
“Given the fact that he’s met so many owners, trainers and jockeys over the years, I’d be surprised if we didn’t see him every now again as a fan. It’s hard not to develop a love for this game when you’re so close to everyone involved in it.”
FINISH LINES: Kentucky Derby king Nyquist will work five furlongs at 6:30 tomorrow morning under Mario Gutierrez, trainer Doug O’Neill reported Sunday. A decision on his next race is expected in the next few days . . . Coppa, who remained unbeaten in three starts with her win in Belmont Park’s Grade III Victory Ride at 6 ½ furlongs Saturday under Joe Talamo for Phil D’Amato, is being considered for Saratoga’s Grade I, $500,000 Test Stakes for three-year-old fillies at seven furlongs Aug. 6, the trainer said . . . Santa Anita Derby winner Dortmund, a candidate for Del Mar’s San Diego Handicap July 23, worked six furlongs in company Sunday for Bob Baffert in 1:13.20 from the gate. Stablemate Vale Dori got 1:13.40 . . .GOOD LUCK TO TRACK ANNOUNCER MICHAEL WRONA, AS HE AND FIANCE’ KATHY KENNEDY WILL MARRY NEXT SUNDAY IN LAKE TAHOE . . . There are mandatory payouts in the Pick Six and Super High Five today. The total Pick Six pool is expected to exceed $500,000.
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|(Current Through Saturday, July 9)|