- GARY STEVENS EYES A ’10’ IN THE SANTA ANITA DERBY
- MAJESTIC QUALITY STAYS HOME FOR RIGHT REASONS
- BALDWIN AVE. TRAFFIC DIVERTED SATURDAY MORNING
- HOLLENDORFER NEARS TITLE IN A ‘FRIENDLY RIVALRY’
- ECLIPSE WINNER KYLE FREY TO RIDE AT SANTA ANITA
STEVENS HOPES TO ADD TO RECORD ABOARD ROYAL MO
Monday morning’s five furlong workout aboard Royal Mo in 1:01.20 for Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby marked the initial time Gary Stevens was aboard the son of Uncle Mo, so it was more or less a peck on the cheek rather than a marriage vow.
“The work was more for me than for him,” said Stevens, who seeks to add to his record of nine wins in the Santa Anita Derby. “He (trainer John Shirreffs) wanted 1:01 and that’s what we did. The horse just dragged me around there and I was very happy with it. It was just a regular work, nothing fancy.”
Stevens won his first Santa Anita Derby in 1988 aboard the filly Winning Colors, who would go on to capture the Kentucky Derby.
“She’s the one that started the ball rolling, and it’s been a good roll, but I’d like to get one more,” Stevens said. “Her performance that day was as good as any horse I’ve ever ridden. She came back and won the Kentucky Derby and it was fun to go into that Winner’s Circle.”
Shirreffs noted, “There’s a lot of speed in the race, so as far as strategy, nothing is for sure. Royal Mo’s work was pretty close to the race so we didn’t want to over train him. Gary got a feel for him and said he went really well.
“He could have done a lot more with him had he chosen to, but he wanted to save it for the race.”
NBCSN will air the Santa Anita Derby in a live telecast that includes coverage of the Wood Memorial and the Blue Grass Stakes, starting at 2:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time.
Approximate post time for the Santa Anita Derby is 4:12 p.m.
The field for the 80th edition of the Santa Anita Derby, which is the eighth of 11 races: Term of Art, Tyler Baze, 12-1; Reach the World, Mike Smith, 5-1; Battle of Midway, Corey Nakatani, 5-1; Comma Sister, Israel Ocampo, 50-1; So Conflated, Mario Gutierrez, 15-1; American Anthem, Martin Garcia, 5-1; Kimbear, Joe Talamo, 12-1; Gormley, Victor Espinoza, 9-2; Iliad, Flavien Prat, 7-2; Milton Freewater, Tiago Pereira, 15-1; Irish Freedom, Martin Garcia, 20-1; Midnight Pleasure, Jamie Theriot, 30-1; and Royal Mo, Gary Stevens, 10-1.
First post time Saturday is 12 noon. Admission gates open at 10 a.m.
SANTA ANITA OAKS MAKES SENSE FOR DESORMEAUX
Keith Desormeaux finds himself in a familiar role, that of potential giant killer Saturday, when he sends out maiden Majestic Quality in the Grade I, $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks.
The daughter of Quality Road outran her odds of 23-1 finishing second in the Grade II Rachel Alexandra at the Fair Grounds Feb. 25, and Desormeaux initially was set to run her back in the Fair Grounds Oaks last Saturday.
But when super filly Unique Bella was declared out of the Santa Anita Oaks due to sore shins, Desormeaux opted to run here, not that it will be any easier.
“We were planning on going back for the Fair Grounds Oaks, but just like everybody else, once Unique Bella wasn’t going to run here, we decided to stay,” Desormeaux said. “But I think after looking at both races, the Santa Anita Oaks is significantly tougher.
“Plus, my filly’s training well and we don’t have to ship or worry about the fatigue of shipping. If she runs a big race here, we’re already home, and she can recover a lot quicker.
“They seemed like the right reasons to stay.”
The Oaks, which goes as race six: Mopotism, Mario Gutierrez, 6-1; It Tiz Well, Corey Nakatani, 5-2; Paradise Woods, Flavien Prat, 6-1; Abel Tasman, Mike Smith, 6-5; Bernina Star, Santiago Gonzalez, 12-1; Majestic Quality, Kent Desormeaux, 10-1; and Princess Karen, Gary Stevens, 8-1.
The Oaks offers 170 qualifying points to the Kentucky Oaks on May 5, 100 to the winner, 40 to the runner-up, 20 to the third horse and 10 to the fourth.
BALDWIN AVE. TRAFFIC DIVERTED TOMORROW MORNING
Those wishing to spend the morning at Santa Anita’s Clockers’ Corner on Santa Anita Derby Day tomorrow are advised that Baldwin Ave. will be closed to vehicular traffic between the 210 Freeway and Huntington Drive from 7:45 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. in order to accommodate foot traffic related to the Santa Anita’s annual Derby Day 5k Run and Walk.
Accordingly, Santa Anita’s Gate 8, which adjoins the Westfield Shopping Mall on Baldwin Ave., and Gate 7, at the track’s northwest end, will also be closed to vehicles during the same time frame.
Those wishing to visit Clockers’ Corner Derby Day morning will be able to enter the track on Santa Anita’s northeast perimeter, via Gate 5, or on the track’s southern perimeter, via Gate 3 at Holly Ave. Gates 3 & 5 will be open for easy access to Clockers’ Corner beginning at 5 a.m. and will remain open throughout the day. Santa Anita’s main track will be closed for training at 7:30 a.m.
Gate 3 is located at the intersection of Holly Ave. and Huntington Drive. Gate 5 is located at the confluence of Colorado Place and Huntington Drive.
For additional information on the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby and the Derby Day 5k Run and Walk, fans are encouraged to visit santaanita.com/events, or call (626) 574-RACE.
FULL FIELDS IN MEN’S, WOMEN’S 5K DERBY DAY RUN
Much like the 13 horse line-up for the Santa Anita Derby, the employees division of the Derby Day 5K is bursting at the seams, with 15 women and 13 men lining up for Saturday’s contest at 3.1 miles.
There are several unknowns due to new runners in both divisions. Christine Beer, who finished second in 35:13 last year and is perennially a top three finisher, appears to have her hands full with the likes of Sandy Hoar, a tough DD5K competitor, along with Lucinda Mandella, whose father-in-law is Hall of Fame trainer Richard.
In the Men’s Division, Jesus Camacho, the lead pony rider on the track, and key member of Bill Spawr’s training team, is a heavy favorite, as his training regimen is year-round. He complains about getting old, but you can bet he will be cruising to the finish line close to the 21:09 he ran in winning last year.
But after the Macho Man, it’s anyone’s race for Place and Show.
The top three in each division will be awarded medals.
FINISH LINES: With three days remaining in Santa Anita’s Winter Meet, Jerry Hollendorfer holds a 35-33 lead over Peter Miller in the battle for most wins by a trainer. Hollendorfer also leads in purse earnings with just over $2 million. Both would be significant achievements for the 70-year-old conditioner, winner of more than 7,200 races in his Hall of Fame career. “It’s always tough to win a big meet like this,” said Hollendorfer, who arguably has one of the hardest-working and most stringent operations in the country. “It’s fun to fight it out with Pete, because he’s not only a rival, but also a friendly rival. We’d like to have most wins, but even more important is earning the most money. We have some big races this weekend and hopefully we can add to that.” . . . Among jockeys, Flavien Prat has not mathematically clinched the riding crown, but holds what appears to be a comfortable 56-50 lead over runner-up Tyler Baze. Prat is $755,998 ahead of Baze in purse money earned, however, $3,496,610 to $2,740,612 . . . Kyle Frey, Eclipse Award winner as top apprentice jockey in 2011, will begin riding full time at Santa Anita next Friday, April 11. Frey (pronounced FRAY) has been riding in the Bay Area where currently he has 33 wins at Golden Gate Fields. The 25-year-old Frey, with seven wins in the last three days, will be represented by agent Mark North. Kyle seemed destined to be a jockey, since his grandfather, Paul Frey, was a top West Coast rider from the 1950s through the 70s, and his dad, Jay, has been a jockey valet for many years at Northern California tracks, currently for his son and formerly for Russell Baze . . . Finest City (four furlongs in 49 for Ian Kruljac), Vale Dori (also four furlongs in 49 for Bob Baffert) and Stellar Wind (five furlongs in 1:00.60 for John Sadler) each worked Friday and could meet in the Grade I Beholder Mile on June 3 . . . There was a single winning ticket in Thursday’s Pick Six that paid $1,199,286.40, purchased through Sammy’s Original in Lake Forest, California, for $14,400. There were 61 tickets with five winners worth $1,375 each . . . Santa Anita hosts a Latin Music Festival Sunday, featuring singer, songwriter and producer Roberto Tapia in the spacious Infield. Online tickets to the concert are $10; VIP tickets are $50, available at santaanita.com/events . . . Fans can experience “The View” Saturday at Santa Anita. This first-class package presented by Woodford Reserve includes mint juleps, bourbon tastings and a menu featuring premium sliders and fries from Rounds Burgers in Pasadena. Guests can also enjoy complimentary access to the champagne tasting lounge near the presented by KORBEL. To buy tickets, visit http://www.santaanita.com/events/woodford-reserve-view/ . . . There will be a four-day break before the Spring portion of the campaign that started Dec. 26 has a fresh start on Friday, April 14. First post time is 1 p.m. . . . Alan Sherman, who sends out 4-1 morning line chance Sid the Squid for his father, trainer Art Sherman, in today’s sixth race, reports Californian Chrome “doing fantastic being bred to mares every day. He looks great and Taylor Made (where he stands in Kentucky) is really happy with him.”
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Thursday, April 6)|
|Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||122||24||13||12||20%||40%||$1,036,196|
|J. Keith Desormeaux||50||10||5||6||20%||42%||$535,460|