- FLORIDA DERBY EDGE GOES TO NYQUIST ON HEART
- D’AMATO EYES SAN SIMEON VICTORY, TRAINING TITLE
- FOES COULD SALUTE ‘COLONEL’ IN TOKYO CITY CUP
- ULTIMATE BETTING CHALLENGE REAPS NEARLY $90,000
- BEHOLDER IN EASY BREEZE FOR SIX-YEAR-OLD DEBUT
RIVAL TRAINER SAYS IT’S NYQUIST OVER MOHAYMEN
If anyone has more respect for Nyquist than his owners, Paul and Zillah Reddam, and his trainer, Doug O’Neill, it’s trainer Keith Desormeaux, who saddled Exaggerator to finish second behind the undefeated male two-year-old champion of 2015 in the seven furlong San Vicente Stakes on Feb. 12.
Desormeaux’s regard for Nyquist has not diminished since, so it’s little wonder he supports Nyquist in Saturday’s meeting with unbeaten Kentucky Derby favorite Mohaymen and eight others in the $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park.
“I think it’s a field of two,” Desormeaux said Friday on another stellar Southern California morning, giving little heed to the other eight entrants.
“I wish Exaggerator could have done more to compliment Nyquist’s effort when we ran (third behind Danzing Candy) in the San Felipe (March 12). I was so impressed running second to Nyquist in the San Vicente I thought it would propel me right into the winner’s circle in the San Felipe, but it wasn’t that easy.
“I really do think it’s a two-horse race, and although Mohaymen has the pedigree advantage (by Tapit), it’s all about heart to a point and Nyquist is proven around two turns and he’s proven to be very competitive.
“I like Nyquist. I try to not be biased to the West, but that’s my humble opinion.”
D’AMATO HAS TWO FOR THE MONEY IN SAN SIMEON
Phil D’Amato, in a pitched battle with Doug O’Neill for Santa Anita’s Winter Meet training title, sends out Cape Wolfe and Hay Dude in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 San Simeon Stakes for older horses at about six and a half furlongs on turf.
They’re primed to score.
“Both have been pointing to this race and they’re ready to go,” said D’Amato, tied at 30 wins each with O’Neill through 57 racing days and with only six remaining until the meet ends a week from Sunday on April 10.
Cape Wolfe, a four-year-old English-bred gelding, was third in his U.S. debut in the Clockers’ Corner at about six and a half furlongs on the hillside course Jan. 24, then was an even fourth in the Grade II Arcadia Stakes at one mile on grass Feb. 13.
Hay Dude was fourth in the Grade II San Marcos at a mile and a quarter on a “good” turf course Feb. 6, and second in the 2015 Clockers’ Corner over the San Simeon venue.
As for winning the training crown, D’Amato will take it if it comes. “I just like all my horses to be in the right spots, run well, and whatever happens, happens,” he said.
The San Simeon, race seven of 11: Cape Wolfe, Flavien Prat, 5-1; Mr. Sexy, Agapito Delgadillo, 20-1; Producer, Drayden Van Dyke, 15-1; No Silent, Gary Stevens, 7-2; Hay Dude, Tyler Baze, 3-1; Il Fornaio, Joe Talamo, 15-1; Guns Loaded, Rafael Bejarano, 5-2; Outside Nashville, Martin Garcia, 6-1; and Aotearoa, Brice Blanc, 12-1.
LIEUTENANT COLONEL SEEKS FIRST STAKES IN TOKYO CITY CUP
Streaking Lieutenant Colonel seeks his third straight victory and his first in a stakes
in Sunday’s Grade III Tokyo City Cup for older horses at 1 ½ miles on the main track.
A four-year-old gelded son of 2008 Santa Anita Derby winner Colonel John trained by Jerry Hollendorfer for Harvey Clarke and Paul Braverman, Lieutenant Colonel won his last two starts on the lead, taking an overnight race at 1 1/8 miles on March 6 by 2 1/4 lengths.
“If he’s not on the lead, he’ll be close to it,” said Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward. “He’s a very nice horse, improving, and training very well.”
The Tokyo City Cup, race eight of 10: Big John B, Rafael Bejarano, 2-1; Class Leader, Victor Espinoza, 7-2; Ike Walker, Edwin Maldonado, 8-1; $2,000 supplemental entry John’s Success, Tyler Baze, 12-1; China Girl Lover, Drayden Van Dyke, 9-2; Blingo, Alex Solis, 10-1; and Lieutenant Colonel, Mike Smith, 5-2.
ULTIMATE BETTING CHALLENGE YIELDS $89,000 BONANZA
Stephen Young was full of money and praise after parlaying $2,000 he won in Santa Anita’s Ultimate Betting Challenge into a windfall of more than $89,000 when he was one of the winners of the Rainbow Pick 6 at Gulfstream Park last Saturday.
The 59-year-old Young, a store manager at Pacific Sales in Ontario, invested $40 to participate in the Ultimate Betting Challenge, his first big money tournament. He played conservatively but still managed to win $2,000.
He was not normally a Pick 6 player, citing the heavy capital investment, but decided to take a shot at the Rainbow Pick 6, putting up $432.
It was a game-changing move, as Young had one of 147 winning tickets, reaping more than $89,000.
“I’ve been playing the horses since I was 10 years old,” said Young, who resides in Murrieta. “Obviously, it was quite a thrill to win all that money and I want to express my appreciation and gratitude to Santa Anita and The Stronach Group for the opportunity to play in the Ultimate Betting Challenge.”
FINISH LINES: Three-time Eclipse Award winner Beholder worked five furlongs in company Friday morning in a minute flat, breezing, under Gary Stevens as she prepares for her six-year-old debut. Trainer Richard Mandella said it was a “nice work” and still is considering either the Grade III, $100,000 Adoration Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on dirt May 6 or the Grade II, $200,000 Royal Heroine Stakes at a mile on turf May 5 for Beholder’s return to the races. Stablemate El Super was timed in 1:01.80 . . . Forever Darling and Mokat, candidates for the Grade I, $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks a week from Saturday, April 9, each worked six furlongs Friday for Richard Baltas, the former going in 1:13.40 and the latter in 1:14.20. Also likely to tackle undefeated champion Songbird in the Oaks are Bellamentary, Kay Kay, She’s a Warrior and Kiss N Scat, who, like Songbird, is trained by Jerry Hollendorfer and also possible for the Grade III Providencia Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on turf April 9 . . . Trainer Keith Desormeaux has the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland April 16 in mind for the three-year-old debut of Swipe, runner-up four straight times to Nyquist . . . Multiple graded stakes winner Om has been turned out for a few months following his last-place finish in the Grade I Kilroe Mile March 12. “A nuclear scan was clean,” trainer Dan Hendricks said, “but we decided to freshen him up.”
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Thursday, March 31)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||168||17||17||26||10%||36%||$1,047,802|