- WARREN‘S VENEDA OUT TO MAKE AMENDS IN ADORATION
- BALTAS IN ‘WILD’ RACE FOR SANTA ANITA TRAINING TITLE
- TRAINER RICKY AGARIE IS NO ‘OVERNIGHT SENSATION’
- MIDNIGHT STORM ONE TO CATCH IN GRADE I SHOEMAKER
- FIRST 5,000 FANS SATURDAY RECEIVE TRIPLE CROWN PRINT
WARREN‘S VENEDA ON TRACK FOR ADORATION
Is being outside of Beholder in Saturday’s Adoration Stakes an advantage for Warren’s Veneda?
That question will be answered when the two square off in the Grade III, $100,000 race for fillies and mares, 3 and up, at 1 1/16 miles. Warren’s Veneda drew post position five to Beholder’s four in the field reduced to six with the scratch of Cast in Silver.
“That’s the same question Ben Warren asked me,” trainer Craig Lewis said of the owner/breeder of Warren’s Veneda, who is named for Ben’s late wife, Veneda. Warren’s Veneda disappointed as the odds-on favorite in the Grade I Vanity Stakes on May 9, when she was in quest of her fourth straight stakes win.
“You guys must think alike,” Lewis said. “I’ll give you the same answer. It doesn’t matter where we are. It doesn’t matter where Beholder is. The only plausible explanation for Warren’s Veneda’s third-place finish in the Vanity is, the pace was a little funky, she was giving away five pounds to the winner (My Sweet Addiction) and she only got beat a length. It wasn’t like she got annihilated.
“But the bottom line is, she got beat, just like all of them do on occasion. All I can say is, I’m happy to have her and she’s put together quite a few good races for us, but we can’t expect any horse to run out of its mind every time it comes over.
“That’s the bottom line. That being said, maybe she’s tailing off. We don’t know.”
The field for the Adoration: My Monet, Gonzalo Nicolas, 15-1; Grandiose Tactics, Drayden Van Dyke, 20-1; Beholder, Gary Stevens, 2-5; Warren’s Veneda, Tyler Baze, 5-2; Wild in the Saddle, Rafael Bejarano, 8-1; and Oscar Party, Santiago Gonzalez, 20-1.
WILD IN THE SADDLE STEPS UP IN ADORATION
Winless in five starts on grass including the Fran’s Valentine on May 23, Wild in the Saddle returns to the main track Saturday in the Grade III Adoration Stakes against the likes of Beholder and Warren’s Veneda.
Wild in the Saddle finished sixth in the Fran’s Valentine after attending the pace in the one-mile grass race. In her two prior races, both at one mile on Santa Anita’s main track, she won the Dream of Summer for California-breds by 6 ¼ lengths on March 22 and an overnight race by a length-and-a-half on Feb. 20.
Richard Baltas trains Wild in the Saddle. Through 28 racing days, Baltas was tied with Doug O’Neill for the training lead at 17 victories each. Baltas is winning at a sparkling 33 percent (17 for 51) and is the leader in purse earnings ($842,520).
Baltas acknowledges that tackling two-time Eclipse Award winner Beholder and Grade I winner Warren’s Veneda is asking a lot of Wild in the Saddle, a Cal-bred daughter of Silic.
“It’s a very tough spot to bring her back in,” Baltas said, “but she had two strong wins on dirt before that so she’s good to go, she’s ready to run. Obviously, Beholder and Warren’s Veneda are pretty tough horses, but we’ll see what happens.”
Baltas still has to look twice when he sees his name atop the trainers’ standings.
“I never thought I’d be in this position,” Baltas said. “I guess it’s just one day at a time, really. Sometimes things fall into place. That’s all it is. One day at a time. I don’t really think about it. I mean, it’s kind of fun to see my name up there, but who would have ever thought it?”
‘NEWCOMER’ AGARIE TACKLES ADORATION HEAVYWEIGHTS
Ricky Agarie is a new face among Santa Anita trainers but an old hand when it comes to horsemanship.
The 45-year-old native of Lima, Peru has been in the game for 28 years but has been on his own only since last November. He learned the ropes in tours of six years each with Carla Gaines, Kathy Walsh and Jack Van Berg.
Agarie (pronounced Ah-GAR-ee) currently has 26 horses in his care, four of which have won at the Spring Meet from just 19 starts (21 percent).
“I grew up here in Whittier and I’ve been around the race track since 1988,” said Agarie, who sends out longshot My Monet (15-1) in the Adoration Stakes. “We’re getting some good horses to claim and I’ve got horses from new owners. The stable’s getting bigger and bigger.
“The good thing is, as long as horses are sound, they’re going to run for you. I think we’re going to be the speed of the Adoration. This filly is doing better in her last three races, so I expect her to go to the front and they’ll have to come and catch us.”
MIDNIGHT STORM SEEKS FOURTH STRAIGHT IN SHOEMAKER
Streaking Midnight Storm seeks Grade I status when he runs in Saturday’s $400,000 Shoemaker Mile on turf, a “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race which gives the nominated winner an automatic entry into the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland on Oct. 31.
Sired by the stallion of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, Pioneerof the Nile, Midnight Storm has won three straight races, including the Grade II Del Mar Derby last Aug. 31 before returning in an overnight race at one mile on turf at Santa Anita April 16, scoring by nearly eight lengths in typical front-running fashion.
“I think with his natural speed, he should be right up there,” said Phil D’Amato, who trains Midnight Storm for Venneri Racing or Dye or Little Red Feather Racing. “Tyler (Baze) knows him very well and breezes him every time, so I’ll leave that in Tyler’s hands. But I see him right up there.”
Addressing the 4-year-old colt’s absence from the races for more than seven months, D’Amato said, “It was nothing of note. He had a nice long campaign (seven races last year, from March 22 through Aug. 31) and came back a better 4-year-old.”
D’Amato put his chances of winning the Spring Meet training title on the back burner, even though he was just three off the lead with 14 wins through Thursday.
“I’m a few wins from the top and don’t have as much ammo as the big guys,” he said, “but we’re having a really good meet.”
Under the enhancements of the Challenge series, Breeders’ Cup Limited will pay the $40,000 entry fee of the Shoemaker Mile winner to start in the Mile if that horse is nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by Oct. 19, the Pre-Entry deadline. Breeders’ Cup is providing all North American connections of horses based outside of Kentucky a $10,000 travel allowance to start in the Championships.
The Shoemaker Mile is the third Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifier in the Mile division this year. On Jan. 10, Futura became the first to earn a Mile bid by taking the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (Group 1) at Kenilworth Race Course in South Africa. The New Zealand-bred Keramadec qualified at Royal Randwick in Australia April 6 by winning the Star Doncaster Mile (Group 1).
The field for the Shoemaker Winning Prize, Martin Garcia, 8-1; Talco, Rafael Bejarano, 5-1; Midnight Storm, Tyler Baze, 6-5; Seek Again, Jose Lezcano, 4-1; and Bal a Bali, Flavien Prat, 9-5.
FIRST 5,000 FANS TO RECEIVE TRIPLE CROWN PRINT SATURDAY
Santa Anita will provide the first 5,000 attendees Saturday a beautiful American Pharoah Triple Crown Champion collectable print, free of charge with paid General Admission. Each item will be accompanied by a protective plastic roll-up sleeve.
The print showcases the Bob Baffert-conditioned Triple Crown Champ and jockey Victor Espinoza in three must-see shots–winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes–and thereby becoming racing’s first Triple Crown winner in 37 years this past Saturday. (All photos were shot by acclaimed equine photographer Skip Dickstein).
First post time Saturday at Santa Anita is 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m. (Please note, the American Pharoah Triple Crown Champion poster will not be available in Santa Anita’s Infield Area).
FINISH LINES: Trainer Simon Callaghan still hopes to make the Los Alamitos Derby on July 4 with Firing Line, despite the fact that the Kentucky Derby runner-up missed a scheduled workout Saturday due to a sore right foot. “It took four days to get right, but he’ll be back on schedule,” Callaghan said. “We’re still looking at the Los Al Derby. It’s going to be little tighter now but I think we still should be able to make it.” . . . Bolo, ticketed for the grassy Belmont Derby on July 4, worked four furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track Friday in 48.80 for Carla Gaines . . . On Thursday, Wild Dude (five furlongs in 1:01.20) and Sahara Sky (six furlongs in 1:14.20) each worked for Jerry Hollendorfer, who plans to run them in the Grade I, $300,000 Triple Bend Stakes at seven furlongs on June 27 . . . Frank Mirahmadi, track announcer at Oaklawn Park and Monmouth Park currently filling in for vacationing Trevor Denman at Santa Anita, will be Tom Quigley‘s guest handicapper Saturday in the East Paddock Gardens at 11:20 a.m. Sunday’s guest will be Santa Anita morning line oddsmaker Jon White . . . Attention Triple Crown hero American Pharoah: Of the 19 horses with the top Beyers on the main track at a mile or over, you are not listed. However, three horses you dusted on the track, Materiality, Upstart and Dortmund, are.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Thursday, June 11)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||94||13||11||10||14%||$576,160|