- ESPINOZA TOSSES STRATEGY TO THE ‘WIND’
- WHAT A VIEW IS FRESH, FIT FOR SHOEMAKER
- APPRENTICE RIDER ENJOYS ‘ROMAN’ HOLIDAY
- MONROVIA SCHOOL‘S HIPPIE BOTS HONORED
ESPINOZA WON’T COME UP ‘SHORT’ IN BEHOLDER
Victor Espinoza has reached racing’s apex thanks to victories all over the globe, from Dubai with California Chrome to America with Triple Crown champion American Pharoah.
That’s why he is one of the newest members of racing’s Hall of Fame, in which he will be inducted come Aug. 4 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
The 45-year-old native of Mexico will apply his worldwide knowledge and experience as the regular rider of champion Stellar Wind when he rides the daughter of Curlin in what will be a small field in next Saturday’s Grade I Beholder Mile.
At press time, only Stellar Wind, Finest City and Vale Dori were confirmed starters.
Thus strategy may be as simple as one-two-three, although Espinoza is inclined not show his hand until the gates open.
“It all depends on the horse,” Espinoza said, addressing riding tactics in a short field. “With Stellar Wind, I don’t think it matters if it’s a full field or a short field. With her, I don’t worry about that, but with some horses, I do.
“Sometimes, in a short field, a jockey will try to ride every horse in the race and that could be a problem. But not for Stellar Wind. How I ride depends on how the race sets up and how many horses are in it.
“I can’t tell you now that I’m going to sit back and make one run, because if the horses are going too slow up front, I’ll have to press the pace.”
Vale Dori worked five furlongs under Rafael Bejarano Monday in a bullet 59.60 for Bob Baffert. It was the fastest of 29 drills at the distance, the average time of which was 1:01.57.
ALL’S WELL FOR WHAT A VIEW IN SHOEMAKER
What a View, fresh off his front-running victory as the 1-2 favorite in the Crystal Water Stakes for California-breds on May 20, is on course for his next major objective, Saturday’s Grade I, $400,000 Shoemaker Mile on turf.
The Shoemaker is the first Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race this year, entitling the nominated winner to automatic entry into the Breeders’ Cup Mile Nov. 4 at Del Mar.
Rather than train the gelded son of Vronsky up to the Shoemaker following his close sixth-place finish in the Grade I Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland on April 14, trainer Kenny Black opted to run What a View in the Crystal Water, essentially picking up $60,000 for a paid work.
“Everything is good,” said the loquacious Black. “I don’t have to work him; he’s fresh, he’s sharp, doing well. I won’t work him before the race. He just ran a mile (in the Crystal Water) 10 days ago.
“I think he’ll be even better. Last time we ran him back in two weeks he was even better. He had a higher Beyer number than he did the time before, so we’re good to go.”
Black was alluding to What a View’s second by a half length in the California Cup Turf Classic on Jan. 28, in which he earned a 99 Beyer, followed by a head second on Feb. 11 in the Grade II Arcadia Stakes, for which he got 100.
What a View’s forte is speed, usually setting the pace early on, then attempting to hold off a cavalry charge in deep stretch. It’s a modus operandi that’s paid off to date with seven wins and five seconds, good for earnings of $824,326.
With $240,000 guaranteed the winner, should What a View win the Shoemaker, he would surpass millionaire status.
Probable for the Shoemaker Mile: Bal a Bali, Bolo, Farhaan, Free Rose, Gangster, Heart to Heart, Perfectly Majestic and What a View.
Bolo worked five furlongs on the main track Sunday in 59.60 for Carla Gaines, while Farhaan went the same distance on the training track in 1:00.60 for Phil D’Amato.
INTERNATIONAL SUCCESS FOR ‘CHROME’ BOT AND HIPPIE BOTS
Monrovia’s Clifton Middle School robotics team, the Hippie Bots, along with their robot “California Chrome” would like to thank the community of supporters who helped make their international success possible.
This past week, the Hippie Bots were named tournament champions at the 2017 FTC Dutch Open in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. In addition, the team received the “Think Award” for the best engineering notebook.
Program founder Paul Flores and mentor Gina Ayala were overwhelmed with pride as their students competed against 45 international teams including Germany, Russia, Israel, The Netherlands, Romania, Belgium, Czech Republic, Spain and Italy.
“As the only middle school team in the competition, we were thrilled to be in first place in our division after the qualifying rounds,” explained Ayala. “Our high ranking put us in the position of alliance captain, allowing us to choose partners for the final battle rounds. Together with our alliance partners from Russia and The Netherlands we proved to be indomitable!
“We knew we would be competitive after nine months of preparation. To win against international high schools and colleges, while representing the United States, is a testament to the students’ dedication and engineering resolve,” relays Flores.
The Hippie Bots would like to thank each of their sponsors, including Martin Racing. In addition, they would like to thank the Santa Anita Marketing Department and TVG for supporting their community outreach efforts.
FINISH LINES: Thanks to three victories Sunday, seven-pound apprentice rider Evin Roman moved into fourth place in Santa Anita’s standings with 16 wins. The 19-year-old native of Puerto Rico, who is represented by agent Tony Matos, has accomplished the feat from only 60 mounts, a sparking 27 percent average. He won the second race on Cupid’s Beau ($3.80) for trainer Steve Miyadi; the sixth on Love Recipe ($7) for Juan Lopez; and the ninth and final aboard Not Too Shiny ($10.20) for Eric Kruljac. “He studies the form and looks at videos of all the races,” Matos said of Roman (pronounced ro-MON), who is a graduate of Puerto Rico’s Escuela Vocacional Hipica, from which fellow countrymen and world class riders Irad Ortiz Jr. and Jose Ortiz also graduated. “When Irad was here last week, he gave Evin some pointers,” Matos said. “They’re goods friends.” . . . Art Sherman of California Chrome fame has La Canada and Santa Maria runner-up Show Stealer nominated to Saturday’s Beholder Mile, but is leaning instead to the $70,000 Santa Lucia Stakes at 1 1/16 miles a day later on Sunday, June 4 . . . Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Obviously worked three furlongs on the training track Monday in a bullet 35 flat for Phil D’Amato, while on the main track, Californian Stakes winner Collected went six furlongs in a bullet 1:12.40 for Bob Baffert. There were 126 recorded workouts at Santa Anita Monday, 15 on the training track . . . Norberto Arroyo Jr. rides 2016 Affirmed Stakes winner Dalmore for Keith Desormeaux at Golden Gate today in the Grade III All American Stakes, while Brice Blanc rides multiple Grade II winner Flamboyant for Paddy Gallagher in the same race . . . Santa Anita will be dark Tuesday and Wednesday, May 30 and 31. Live racing resumes Thursday, June 1, at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Sunday, May 28)|
|Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||46||8||6||8||17%||48%||$482,348|