- GIANT KILLER HOFMANS EYES CLASSIC UPSET
- SONGBIRD TO WORK ON SUNDAY FOR DISTAFF
- DERBY KING NYQUIST BREEZES MILE THURSDAY
FRESH MELATONIN PEAKING FOR CLASSIC
Meet David Hofmans, the Giant Killer of the Breeders’ Cup.
Consider the fact that he saddled Adoration, at 40-1 the longest shot on the board, to win the 2003 Distaff under Patrick Valenzuela; Desert Code at 36-1 with Richard Migliore up to win the 2008 Turf Sprint; and Alphabet Soup to upset two-time Horse of the Year Cigar in the 1996 Classic with Chris McCarron aboard at a $41.70 win payoff.
His next task could be his most daunting, however, sending out Santa Anita Handicap and Gold Cup at Santa Anita winner Melatonin after an absence of more than four months to tackle streaking 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome in the $6 million Classic at Santa Anita on Saturday, Nov. 5.
“He loves to run fresh, I know that,” said the 73-year-old Hofmans of Melatonin, a five-year-old gelded son of Kodiak Kowboy owned by Susan Osborne’s Tarabilla Farms, Inc. “Unfortunately, I missed a race with him before the Classic so we have to come into what is probably the toughest race of his life off of works.
“I know the horse is doing really well right now. He reminds me of Alphabet Soup. They both try real hard every time and they’re both so smart.
“I thought Adoration and Alphabet Soup had good shots to win, despite their odds. Desert Code, I wasn’t too sure about, but I think Migliore was a big part of that. He really wanted that win and he rode the horse like he did, and I think he got every bit out of him.
“But all three horses were like Melatonin, peaking at the right moment.”
In other Breeders’ Cup news:
- Jerry Hollendorfer said unbeaten two-year-old filly champion of 2015 Songbird
would have her last breeze next Sunday prior to the $2 million Longines Distaff on Nov. 4.
- Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist (Classic) “is galloping daily and looks great,”
trainer Doug O’Neill said. “If all goes well he’ll breeze a mile on Thursday, come out of that good and gallop into the Big Dance.”
- Union Strike (Juvenile Fillies) worked seven furlongs Sunday under Martin
Garcia in company with The Strip for trainer Craig Dollase. The two fillies were timed in 1:27.80 and 1:28.60, respectively.
- Gun Runner (Dirt Mile) worked five furlongs for Steve Asmussen in 1:00.40.
- On the dirt training track, Hunt (Turf Sprint) worked six furlongs in company with
Metaboss for Phil D’Amato, getting a time of 1:15, while Metaboss was clocked in 1:16.20.
Also on the training track for D’Amato, Obviously (Mile and Turf Sprint) went four
furlongs in 48.80, breezing, while Bowies Hero (Juvenile Turf) went four furlongs in 50.60 to stablemate Billy Big’s 51.80.
- Multiple Grade II turf stakes winner Ashleyluvssugar worked five furlongs for
Peter Eurton in 1:02.20.
SUMMARY OF CHRB MEETING
The California Horse Racing Board conducted its regular meeting last Thursday at Santa Anita. Chairman Chuck Winner presided. Commissioners Steve Beneto, George Krikorian and Alex Solis also were in attendance.
- In discussing 2017 race dates allocations for Northern California, all attempts to negotiate an agreed-upon solution failed and all motions failed to garner the required four votes for adoption. Therefore, the matter was moved to the November agenda. Chairman Winner implored the stakeholders to try once again to reach an accord.
- The Board approved the license application for the Los Alamitos Quarter Horse Racing Association to conduct a race meet commencing Dec. 30, 2016, through Dec. 17, 2017.
- The Board approved for 45-day public notice proposed amendments to regulations that would allow racing secretaries, racing associations and fairs to write medication-based race conditions, subject to CHRB final approval.
- The Board approved for 45-day public notice a proposed rule to require ADW companies to identify those wagers placed by accountholders located within California racetracks and simulcast facilities, so that racetracks and horsemen would get a larger share of revenue from the takeout on those wagers.
- A proposed regulatory amendment governing use of the riding crop in races was rejected when three of the commissioners voted no and the fourth, Commissioner Solis, recused himself.
- In his executive summary, Executive Director Rick Baedeker reported that the stewards and normal licensing, enforcement and veterinary staffing levels will be greatly supplemented for the Breeders’ Cup being hosted by Santa Anita Park on Nov. 4 and 5.
- The Board authorized the Pacific Racing Association to distribute $39,573 in race day charity proceeds to nine beneficiaries.
- The Board approved a license application for NewCo Ventures North America, doing business as NYRAbets.com, to provide ADW wagering services to California accountholders for the rest of this year. All ADW licenses must be renewed for 2017.
WHERE HAVE YOU GONE, JOE DiMAGGIO?
Veteran jockey agent Joe Griffin, who wouldn’t know a baseball bat from a fruit bat, was at Bay Meadows race track in the late 1990’s sitting in a box seat with the legendary Joe DiMaggio.
Fellow agent and rabid baseball fan Jim Pegram happened to walk by and could barely believe his eyes. There was Griffin, who had no knowledge of or interest in baseball, sitting next to the Yankee Clipper himself, Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio, he of the 56-game hitting streak.
The nonplussed Pegram was stunned, asking Griffin what he was doing sitting with Joe D? “You don’t even know who he is,” Pegram fumed, but Griffin didn’t flinch.
His response was quick and deadly.
“I know who he is,” Joe said. “He’s Mr. Coffee.”
But wait. There’s more.
Days later in a Bay Area sports bar bedecked with pictures of baseball greats, Pegram went for the jugular.
“OK,” he fumed at Griffin, pointing to the wall, “for dinner in any San Francisco restaurant at any price, who’s the guy in that picture?”
Griffin barely took a deep breath before spitting out, “Lou Gehrig.”
Pegram let the expletives fly. “Now how $##%*&*@!%$$ did you know that?” he barked between vulgarities.
“Easy,” Griffin said. “I saw the movie. He looks just like Gary Cooper.”
FINISH LINES: Humberto Ascanio, long-time right-hand man to the late Bobby Frankel, was a welcome visitor to Clockers’ Corner Sunday, greeting old friends and former co-workers . . . With two wins Saturday, Rafael Bejarano opened a 15-13 lead over runners-up Norberto Arroyo Jr. and Tyler Baze in the race for riding honors through 14 days of the 23-day Autumn Meet. Among trainers, Peter Miller has a comfortable 12-7 lead over runners-up Doug O’Neill and Richard Baltas.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Saturday, Oct. 22)|
|Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||61||13||9||9||21%||51%||$526,399|