- SONGBIRD, GORMLEY AND ‘MIDWAY’ WORK WELL
- COASTLINE IS READY FOR SUNDAY’S SIREN LURE
- VALE DORI ON COURSE FOR GRADE I BEHOLDER
SANTA ANITA DERBY WINNER GORMLEY AMONG BEVY OF BREEZERS
Two-time champion Songbird and Kentucky Derby candidate Battle of Midway each worked on Santa Anita’s fast main track early Saturday morning, after which Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer expressed satisfaction with their efforts.
Santa Anita Derby winner Gormley also worked Saturday for the Kentucky Derby, going six furlongs in 1:15.80 for trainer John Shirreffs, who had exercise rider Cisco Alvarado aboard. Gormley went in company with Oregon, who was clocked in 1:16.40.
Gormley had fractional times of 26, 38.60, 52.40 and 1:04.
“He went well,” Shirreffs said of Gormley, who will be ridden at Churchill Downs by Victor Espinoza in pursuit of his fourth Kentucky Derby triumph. Gormley is scheduled to ship May 1 for the May 6 Run for the Roses. His was among 181 recorded works at Santa Anita Saturday, 21 on the training track.
Songbird, Eclipse Award winner as outstanding two-year-old female of 2015 and outstanding three-year-old of her sex in 2016, worked four furlongs under exercise rider Edgar Rodriguez in 48.80, while recently sold Battle of Midway went five furlongs under jockey Flavien Prat in 1:00.60. Battle of Midway worked in company with Spanish Eyes, who went in 1:01.20.
Battle of Midway, owned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms when second in the Santa Anita Derby on April 8, was purchased by the partnership of WinStar Farm and Don Alberto Stable, it was announced on Friday.
“Songbird went out five-eighths in 1:02.36 and three quarters in (one) 15 and one,” Hollendorfer said of the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, whose only loss came by a scant nose to Beholder in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita last Nov. 5.
“She’s coming along at a fairly decent pace. We’re going to look at the (Grade I) Beholder (Mile, June 3 at Santa Anita with a $400,000 purse) or the Ogden Phipps (Grade I, $750,000, 1 1/16 miles at Belmont Park June 10).
“Battle of Midway started behind his workmate, had a good target, ran past him and galloped out well. He’s totally on schedule. He’ll have one more work here next week and then ship (to Kentucky) on the 29th. Flavien Prat will ride Battle of Midway in the Derby.”
COASTLINE READY FOR SUNDAY’S SIREN LURE
Coastline should benefit from his first start in nine months when he runs in Sunday’s $75,000 Siren Lure Stakes for three-year-olds and up at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf.
Coastline was fourth in an overnight race at 6 ½ furlongs on the main track March 31, his first start since last June 25.
“I think he needed that last race,” trainer Phil D’Amato said of the six-year-old gray, a full son of 2004 Eclipse Award winning sprinter Speightstown. “The track was deep that day, and I think he really likes running down this hill. It looks like there are a couple speed horses in there, and hopefully we’ll be sitting in a nice, tactical spot and pounce in the stretch.”
The Siren Lure is named for the multiple graded stakes winner trained by Art Sherman, winner of 15 of 38 starts and $994,244.
The Siren Lure, race eight of nine: Stormy Liberal, Norberto Arroyo Jr., 6-5; Eddie Haskell, Mario Gutierrez, 6-1; Coastline, Tyler Baze, 3-1; $1,500 supplemental nominee Richard’s Boy, Victor Espinoza, 5-2; and Ambitious Brew, Mike Smith, 7-5.
FINISH LINES: Bob Baffert has streaking graded stakes winner Vale Dori, victress in the Grade I Santa Margarita March 18, on course for the Grade I Beholder Mile June 3, while Horse of the World Arrogate remains in a “maintenance mode” until a decision is forthcoming on the next race for the earner of more than $17 million . . . Champion female sprinter of 2016 Finest City, also under consideration for the Beholder, breezed four furlongs Saturday in a bullet 45.60 under exercise rider Pedro Zarelletta. It was the fastest by more than three seconds of 40 drills at the distance. “She worked insane,” said trainer Ian Kruljac, who also has the Humana Distaff at seven furlongs May 6 at Churchill Downs on his radar for the Pennsylvania-bred daughter of City Zip . . . Other noteworthy works Saturday included those by unbeaten Sircat Sally (five furlongs in 1:00.60 for Jerry Hollendorfer); Triple Bend winner Denman’s Call (six furlongs in 1:13.20 for Doug O’Neill); Mor Spirit (six furlongs in 1:11.20 for Baffert); Abel Tasman (seven furlongs in 1:25.20, also for Baffert); Santa Paula Stakes winner Union Strike for Mick Ruis (four furlongs on the training track in a bullet 48.20 as she prepares for the Eight Belles at Churchill Downs); and San Vicente Stakes winner Iliad (seven furlongs for O’Neill in 1:28.40). “We’ll see how he comes out of the work, huddle with Mr. Shah (owner Kaleem Shah) and see what our options are,” O’Neill said of Iliad, who is slated to skip the Kentucky Derby and be pointed to the Preakness on May 20 . . . Seven-pound apprentice rider Evin Roman, who rides 3-1 morning line chance Goliath’s Girl for Hollendorfer in today’s third race, is catching the eyes of horsemen. “He’s a great gate rider,” said Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward. “Every horse he rides breaks good. Just watch him.” . . . There is a single ticket Pick Six Jackpot carryover today of $209,370 . . . Jockey Tyler Baze rides San Luis Rey Stakes winner Itsinthepost for Jeff Mullins in today’s Grade II Dixiana Elkhorn Stakes at a mile and a half on turf at Keeneland . . . Zuzu’s Petals was claimed for $20,000 by Mullins in an 11-way shake from Friday’s seventh race, which she won by 4 ¼ lengths under Rafael Bejarano as the 4-5 favorite for trainer Steve Knapp . . . Every Saturday and Sunday at Santa Anita, fans can enjoy Family Fun Zone, featuring an Infield full of activities. A special $40 online only discount package includes food for four, two racing programs, two unlimited jumper wristbands, two pony ride vouchers, two face painting vouchers and eight carnival game vouchers. The package can be purchased online at santaanita.com/events . . . Fans at Santa Anita May 6 can enjoy the biggest Derby party west of Kentucky and see the 143rd Run for the Roses. Derby Day highlights include a Kentucky Derby Trackside event; a KROQ Super Games and Craft Beer Festival; a Chandelier Room Derby Party; a Kentucky Derby Hat Contest; the Bud Light Lounge; and a guaranteed Late Pick 4 pool of $500,000 and Pick 6 pool of $100,000.