- GORMLEY WORKS ‘VERY WELL’ FOR BC JUVENILE
- DISTAFF HISTORY BODES WELL FOR SONGBIRD
- INTANGIBLES CRUCIAL IN BREEDERS’ CUP SPRINT
- SPRINT CONTENDER DREFONG IN ‘GOOD WORK’
- ROSE MENTIONS ‘CHROME’ ON FOX POST GAME SHOW
GORMLEY IN COMFORTABLE DRILL FOR JUVENILE
FrontRunner winner Gormley worked six furlongs under Chantal Sutherland for John Shirreffs at 8 o’clock Sunday morning for the $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita on Nov. 5.
Working in company with regular workmate Veneto, Gormley was timed in 1:15 flat while Veneto was clocked in 1:17 flat.
“Gormley went very well,” Shirreffs said. “We wanted to make sure he was comfortable next to the other horse. We put him in a different position to see how he handled it.
“We weren’t looking for a fast time, just more of a comfortable, non-stressful work.”
Victor Espinoza has ridden Gormely in his only two races, both front-running victories, but Sutherland has been working the son of Malibu Moon owned by Jerry and Ann Moss.
“Chantal has really nice hands and she sits very still on the horse,” Shirreffs said in explaining why she works Gormley. “It’s nice to have a different rider on him sometimes, other than the rider who’s going to be on him in the afternoon.
“Every time his regular rider gets on, Gormley tends to think, ‘Oh, we’re going to do something (serious).’ He can tell the difference between riders.”
Sutherland is understandably impressed with Gormley, and would welcome the chance to ride the colt in competition.
“The horse can do anything,” she said. “I wouldn’t mind if the Mafia came and tied Victor up to give me a chance to ride Gormley in a race.”
The Juvenile will be decided at 1 1/16 miles, the same distance as the FrontRunner.
SONGBIRD HAS HISTORY ON HER SIDE IN DISTAFF
Songbird will be facing older fillies and mares for the first time when she runs in the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff on Nov. 4.
This late in the year, an age disparity might not make a difference, but since the undefeated two-year-old filly champion of 2015 would be facing older champions Beholder and Stellar Wind, it’s something to think about, in the opinion of Mike Smith, who has guided Songbird to dominating daylight victories in each of her 11 races.
“I wouldn’t say the concept of three-year-olds handling older horses is overrated, especially with the older horses she’s going to have to face,” the Hall of Fame jockey said. “They’re extremely talented. They’re the cream of the crop, so Songbird is going to have to step up her game.”
Dan Ward, assistant to Jerry Hollendorfer, who trains Songbird for Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farm, is a human version of Equibase, up to speed on research, which in this instance bodes well for Songbird: “Just look at the past results of the Distaff,” Ward said. “Ten three-year-olds have won it and most were facing older for the first time, so it’s a good gauge.
“Beholder won when she was three (in 2013), Untapable (2014) won when she was three, Ashado (2004) won when she was three, Blind Luck was second (in 2010),” Ward pointed out.
Other three-year-old winners of the Distaff were Sacahuista (1987), Dance Smartly (1991), Hollywood Wildcat (1993), Ajina (1997), Spain (2000), Unbridled Elaine (2001) and Royal Delta (2011)
“This is a race Songbird will really have to run to win,” Smith said, “but in saying that, I think she’s ready for it. I certainly wouldn’t trade places with anybody, I know that.”
INTANGIBLES KEY IN BREEDERS’ CUP SPRINT
Masochistic worked four furlongs under Mike Smith Thursday in a bullet 45.40, handily from the gate for trainer Ron Ellis.
It was the fastest of 46 drills at the distance as the California-bred son of Sought After prepared for the $1.5 million TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint at six furlongs Nov. 5.
“I wanted to sharpen him up a little bit,” Ellis said in explaining the gate drill. “We might even do it one more time. He’s got two more works, one next Friday and probably on Saturday after that, a week before the race.”
“All the Breeders’ Cup races except probably the Classic appear to be pretty wide open. They look very competitive. I would agree (with Bob Baffert) that the post position, the start, and other intangibles will be important in a race like the Sprint.”
ROSE MENTIONS CALIFORNIA CHROME ON FOX SPORTS POST GAME SHOW
Pete Rose, who along with fellow retired hardball greats Alex Rodriguez and Frank Thomas works as an analyst on Fox Sports NLCS baseball coverage, worked in a mention of superstar California Chrome following last night’s Cubs vs. Dodgers game at Wrigley Field.
In an unscripted moment approaching midnight Central Time, Rose asked diminutive field reporter Ken Rosenthal, who had just finished an on-field interview with a Cubs’ player who easily exceeded 6′ 5″, “Are you gonna ride California Chrome?” A bit of uncertainty followed, with Rose being informed by anchor Kevin Burkhardt that “Ken isn’t a jockey.” Unbowed, Rose then pointed out that California Chrome would be running soon in the Breeders’ Cup.
FINISH LINES: Songbird galloped Sunday morning and is scheduled to work Thursday for the Distaff . . . Multiple graded stakes winner Tara’s Tango worked five furlongs Sunday in a minute flat, fastest of 59 drills at the distance under Rafael Bejarano for the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint at seven furlongs Nov. 5. “Perfect” is how Jerry Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward summed up the drill. “It was a good finish, a good gallop out, just the way you want it. She’s a very good work horse.” . . . Ashleyluvssugar, winner of the Grade II John Henry Turf Championship on Oct. 2, had “a lovely work” in the dark for the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf at 1 ½ miles Nov. 5, going four furlongs in 48.40 for Peter Eurton, while Sprint contender Drefong went six furlongs in a bullet 1:12.20 handily from the gate with Martin Garcia aboard. “He went good and he needed it,” Bob Baffert said. “It was a good work for him,” the fastest of 15 at the distance . . . Runhappy, winner of last year’s Grade I Malibu Stakes, is set to arrive at Santa Anita next Sunday, Oct. 23, from The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington, Ky., to prepare for the $1 million Las Vegas Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on Nov. 4 under trainer Laura Wohlers . . . Point Piper, a longshot for the Dirt Mile, went four furlongs for Hollendorfer in 50.80 . . . The jury was still out Sunday morning on why Long Hot Summer finished a disappointing fifth and last by 13 lengths as the 13-10 favorite in Saturday’s California Distaff Handicap. “We’ll evaluate her day to day,” said trainer Phil D’Amato, who sent out Enola Gray to win the race in her turf debut. “Something’s not right. We’ll take Long Hot Summer’s blood tomorrow to see if she could be getting sick on us, because that was not the performance we were expecting from her. On the other end, Enola saved the day for us with a really nice grass performance.” As to Obviously‘s Breeders’ Cup status, D’Amato said he would cross-nominate him to the Mile and the Turf Sprint “and kind of decide after that.” D’Amato has Grade I winner Midnight Storm as a leading candidate for the Mile . . . Trainer Jeff Bonde was pleased as punch with the debut victory of Princess Karen in yesterday’s second race, but revealed no imminent race for the two-year-old Kentucky-bred filly by Stay Thirsty, who won by nearly two lengths under Mike Smith. “We’re hoping for good things from her,” Bonde said. . . . Congrats to clocker Toby Turrell of The Yellow Sheet on picking Sundar Creek ($25.40) as his best bet Saturday. The Bob Hess Jr. trainee won by 5 ¼ lengths under Fernando Perez in the ninth race, cementing a Pick Six carryover of $67,281 into Sunday’s races. Turrell wrote in part, “Can’t ask for a softer spot than this. Play: $100 win . . .” for a juicy return of $1,250.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Saturday, Oct. 15)|
|Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||47||11||5||7||23%||49%||$429,260|