• TRAINING OF GOLDENCENTS MORA LESS THE SAME
• BC MILE HAS NEW LOOK WITH WISE DAN ON SIDELINES
• RICH TAPESTRY, CALIFORNIA CHROME WORK SATURDAY
THERE’S A SILVER LINING IN GOLDENCENTS’ TRAINING
There’s a change in the trainer of record, but not much else in the conditioning regimen of Goldencents as the Santa Anita Derby and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner prepares for the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.
Leandro Mora is the trainer of record, filling in for his suspended mentor, Doug O’Neill.
“The training is still the same, because when I started working for Doug–not to say that I taught him–but the style was established back then, and that’s what we and the horses are used to, so the training definitely hasn’t changed,” said Mora, who has been O’Neill’s assistant for 13 years. Prior to that, he spent 13 years with the late Brian Mayberry, and two with trainer Tim Pinfield before joining Team O’Neill. Pinfield won the 2000 Golden Shaheen with crack sprinter Big Jag.
“The owners were happy with me knowing that I understand how to handle Goldencents,” Mora said. “When he broke his maiden, I was training him, so they are comfortable with me training Goldencents now. The horse is doing excellent.”
Goldencents worked five furlongs Friday morning under Rafael Bejarano in 59 seconds flat, galloping out six furlongs in 1:11 2/5. His fractional times were 23 4/5, 36 flat and 47 4/5.
“I’m very happy with the work,” Mora said. “You don’t worry when he works because he does it so easy. You just press the button and let him be himself. He’ll have one lighter work six or seven days before the Breeders’ Cup and that’ll be it. This was the key work.”
WITH WISE DAN OUT, MILE PICTURE CHANGES, OBVIOUSLY
With the defection of Wise Dan, as Trevor Denman would say, “suddenly the whole picture changes” in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile on Nov. 1.
With the announcement Monday that the two-time Horse of the Year who was seeking his third straight Mile win would not run due to an injury, chances for victory for those who had been considered outsiders in the rich turf race suddenly increased dramatically.
One such animal is Obviously, a front-running, 6-year-old Irish-bred gelding twice vanquished by Wise Dan in Mile endeavors the past two years at Santa Anita.
“I think everybody was kind of shocked to hear about Wise Dan, especially after the big race he ran winning the Shadwell Mile,” said Obviously’s regular rider, Joe Talamo, who has established himself as a leading rider in Southern California since coming to the Golden State at the behest of the late Bobby Frankel seven years ago at the tender age of 17.
“With Wise Dan out, it’s definitely going to make everybody’s job a little easier,” Talamo said. “I know I love Obviously. He tries every time, even when he loses. He runs great fresh and he was real unlucky at Del Mar when he missed the break (in the Del Mar Mile Aug. 24).
“He has one way to go. He doesn’t like to sit back, so that was unfortunate. He’ll have had a couple months off but like I said, he runs well fresh and he’s been working very well, so we’re ready to go.”
Talamo has ridden Obviously in 15 straight races, winning eight, including the Grade I Shoemaker Mile twice.
“I still feel 17,” Talamo said when reminded he’s been on the circuit since 2007. “I’ve been fortunate. Since the time I arrived to this day, horsemen have given me good opportunities. Thanks to them, the owners and my agent, Scotty (McClellan), it’s been fun.”
GARCIA LIKES SUPER ABILITY’S CHANCES GOING DOWN THE HILL
Super Ability is coming off four straight races at a mile or longer, but Martin Garcia is optimistic that the 6-year-old gelded son of Langfuhr will fare well going about 6 ½ furlongs on turf in Saturday’s $100,000 California Flag Handicap.
“He’s a good horse and really fast,” said Garcia, who has ridden the chestnut owned in part by John Harris or Iconic Thoroughbreds, LLC, in his last eight races from nine career starts. Harris also bred Super Ability.
“I don’t think the shorter distance will make a difference,” Garcia said. “I think he’ll do better going 6 ½.”
Trained by Carla Gaines, Super Ability has four wins and two seconds and although he is three for five on turf, has never run on Santa Anita’s unique downhill course at about 6 ½ furlongs. One of his victories came on Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track.
The field for the California Flag, race three of nine: Ain’t No Other, Elvis Trujillo, 4-1; Super Ability, Martin Garcia, 5-2; Heat Flash, Fernando Perez, 8-1; Boozer, Rafael Bejarano, 9-5; and Tamarando, Mike Smith, 2-1.
Red Outlaw, unbeaten in five starts, was scratched and is entered in Sunday’s $75,000 Uniformity Stakes at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf.
FINISH LINES: Rich Tapestry is set to have his first breeze Saturday since winning the Grade I Santa Anita Sprint Championship on Oct. 4, reports trainer Leonard Powell, at whose barn the Hong Kong invader trained by Michael Chang resides as he prepares for the $1.5 million Xpressbet Breeders’ Cup Sprint on Nov. 1. . . Distaff favorite Beholder is scheduled to work Saturday under Mike Smith for Richard Mandella, while Victor Espinoza will be at Los Alamitos to pilot Kentucky Derby king and Classic contender California Chrome in an 8 a.m. drill for trainer Art Sherman . . . A decision is still forthcoming on whether Candy Boy will run in the Classic. “He works tomorrow,” trainer John Sadler said, “and pre-entries are Monday, so we’ll watch him work, check him on Sunday and make up our minds.” . . . Despite Wise Dan’s defection from the Mile, Gary Mandella still has the Turf Sprint as the first priority for Silentio. “He’ll be cross-entered just to make sure he gets to run somewhere,’ the trainer said, “but the Wertheimers have one of the favorites for the Mile already in Anodin, so our first preference will still be the Turf Sprint.” Anodin, trained by Freddy Head, is a full brother to three-time Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Goldikova. . . Filly & Mare Sprint contender Midnight Lucky worked six furlongs for Bob Baffert Friday in a bullet 1:12 flat , while Turf Sprint candidate Home Run Kitten went six furlongs for David Hofmans in 1:12.60 . . . It’s almost a half-century since trainer Alfredo Velazquez has been at Santa Anita. “It’s been 45 years,” Velazquez recalled as he gears up Private Zone for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. “I was a groom for trainer Angel Penna, Sr. here in 1969.”