- R&R FOR PHAROAH; GOLD CUP LIKELY FOR HOPPERTUNITY
- FANS CAN SEE ‘PHAROAH’ LIVE AT SANTA ANITA ON JUNE 27
- CATCH A FLIGHT WORKS FOR RICH GOLD CUP AT SANTA ANITA
- SMITH FANCIES ‘TANGO’ GOING LONG IN SUMMERTIME OAKS
- RED HOT SADLER HOPES TO KEEP IT ROLLING SATURDAY
FRESHENING IN STORE FOR AMERICAN PHAROAH?
While Bob Baffert has mentioned the Haskell, the Jim Dandy and the Travers as
“options” for American Pharoah’s next race, any firm commitment for the immediate future is on hold as the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978 recovers from the Rock Star treatment he’s received since capturing the Belmont Stakes on June 6.
The horse has had more requests for personal appearances than Elvis, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones combined. Now, it’s time for some good old R&R.
“Every time we have an experience like we had yesterday, it sort of brings back the feeling of winning the Triple Crown and seeing all the people,” Baffert said Friday, the morning after American Pharoah arrived home at Santa Anita following a flight from Kentucky, a police escort from Ontario Airport, and a horde of media and fans on hand to welcome him.
“It was nice to see the horse back, but I can tell he was a little bit tired from being shown so much, so now that he’s here, we need to tighten up the show circuit a little bit. He probably needs a little bit of freshening, because this wears on him. When he was in Kentucky, they were bringing him out a lot and showing him to people, sharing him with everybody.
“But now that he’s here, it’s a different life. He handles it well because he’s so smart.”
Asked if he had a horse for the Gold Cup at Santa Anita a week from Saturday, Baffert said, “I might want to run Hoppertunity. He just ran, and I think I’m looking at him right now.”
Hoppertunity finished third in the Grade I Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs on June 6.
AMERICAN PHAROAH ON PARADE JUNE 27
American Pharoah’s countless fans and well-wishers will have an opportunity to see racing’s newest Triple Crown winner in the flesh when the sensational colt will make a public appearance at Santa Anita on Gold Cup Day next Saturday, June 27.
“We want to thank American Pharoah’s owner, Ahmed Zayat, and his trainer, Bob Baffert, for being so incredibly generous in sharing this horse with fans from coast to coast,’ said Santa Anita Chairman Keith Brackpool. “We’re excited to present him to the public on June 27. It should make for a tremendous day for those joining us on track and on television throughout the world.”
In addition to a blockbuster card that includes the Grade I, $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita, the Grade I, $300,000 Triple Bend Stakes, the Grade II, $200,000 Royal Heroine Stakes and the Grade III, $100,000 Senorita Stakes, all fans will receive an officially licensed “American Pharoah Triple Crown Champion” T-shirt free with paid admission and Santa Anita Thoroughbreds Club membership. (Thoroughbreds Club signups will be available free at T-shirt distribution locations).
NBCSN will televise the Gold Cup live from 5 to 6 p.m. Pacific Time.
CATCH A FLIGHT ‘READY TO GO’ FOR GRADE I GOLD CUP
Californian Stakes winner Catch a Flight worked seven furlongs under Gary Stevens Friday morning in 1:26.40 as he prepares for the Grade I, $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita a week from Saturday, June 27.
Stablemates Ganesh and Osmoz went out with Catch a Flight. Ganesh was clocked in 1:26, while Osmoz got 1:27.
“He’s doing real well,” trainer Richard Mandella said of Catch a Flight, an Argentine-bred import who overtook Moreno in late stretch to win the Grade II Californian by a half-length on May 30. “He’s in good shape and ready to go.”
Mandella said two-time champion Beholder, winner of the Adoration Stakes June 13, is on course for the Grade I, $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 1, while Bal a Bali, who disappointed in the Shoemaker Mile, finishing last of five, “wrenched an ankle in the race, but it was a minor blow.”
Mandella added, “I don’t think it will amount to much and we’ll look at the (Grade I) Eddie Read (at Del Mar on July 18).”
SMITH LIKES RHYTHM OF ‘TANGO’ ON STRETCH OUT
Tara’s Tango stretches out in Saturday’s Grade II Summertime Oaks. Mike Smith is looking forward to it.
The Hall of Fame jockey has ridden the gray daughter of Unbridled’s Song in each of her previous three races, none beyond seven furlongs, including the Angel’s Flight on May 16 in which she was second in a field of five.
“This is what she’s been wanting,” Smith said of the added distance. “I really like this filly. I think a lot of her. Down the road she’s going to a really, really nice one.”
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer for Stonestreet Stables, LLC, Tara’s Tango won her first race last July 20 by 3 ½ lengths, going five furlongs at Del Mar in 57.40.
The field for the Oaks, race eight of nine: All Star Bub, Rafael Bejarano, 20-1; Sheer Pleasure, Tyler Baze, 4-1; Danette, Fernando Perez, 15-1; Guild, Flavien Prat, 30-1; Roksana, Felipe Valdez, 12-1; Tara’s Tango, Mike Smith, 4-1; Conquest Curlgirl, Joe Talamo, 12-1; Scat Means Go, Gary Stevens, 8-1; Stellar Wind and Victor Espinoza, 5-2.
Fantastic Style was scratched, and trainer Keith Desormeaux said Friday morning that the maiden Danette also would be scratched.
SADLER HOPES TO KEEP ROLLING IN SATURDAY STAKES
John Sadler, who won three races at Santa Anita Thursday, hopes to continue his hot streak when he sends out Zinvor in the $75,000 Singletary Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile on turf and Santa Anita Oaks winner Stellar Wind in the Grade II Summertime Oaks at a mile and one-sixteenth.
Both horses will be ridden by Triple Crown-winning jockey Victor Espinoza, who was aboard two of Sadler’s winners Thursday. Zinvor is two-for-two at a mile on grass, one win coming at Del Mar, the other at Santa Anita two races back before he finished fifth after leading in the 1 1/8-mile Snow Chief on turf May 23.
“He was just a little too close in the Snow Chief,” Sadler said. “He can run further. He was too close to the pace last time.”
Sadler said Stellar Wind is “sharp, doing real good” for the Oaks. “We’re looking forward to it.”
The field for the Singletary: Seve’s Road, Rafael Bejarano, 8-1; All Indians, Mike Smith, 8-1; Harmonic, Alex Solis, 8-1; Hero Ten All, Tyler Baze, 6-1; Zinvor, Victor Espinoza, 6-1; Soul Driver, Gary Stevens, 5-1; Cardiac, Fernando Perez, 12-1; Madiba, Martin Garcia, 12-1; Spin Forty, Edwin Maldonado, 20-1; Ride Hard Kowboy, Drayden Van Dyke, 12-1; Where’s the Moon, Brice Blanc, 15-1; and Royal Albert Hall, Flavien Prat, 4-1.
Anytime Anyplace was scratched.
FINISH LINES: Om, who handed American Pharoah his lone defeat, is scheduled to return to turf in the $100,000 Oceanside Stakes at a mile on grass opening day at Del Mar, July 16. “Om will be my first horse ever in the Hall of Fame,” trainer Dan Hendricks quipped. “On American Pharoah’s past performances, it will show Om beating him in his first race.” Om finished third in the Grade III Affirmed Stakes on dirt June 7 . . . Keith Desormeaux has “one more big work this weekend” for Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red as the 3-year-old son of Afleet Alex prepares for the $500,000 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park on July 4. The Grade III test will be decided at a one-turn mile. “He’ll have one more big work this weekend and we’ll come back with a final little prep work the following weekend and we’re ready to roll,” Desormeaux said . . . Professional gambler Alan “Dink” Denkenson will be Tom Quigley‘s handicapping guest Saturday, while Craig Stephen, agent for jockey Santiago Gonzalez, will do honors Sunday, each day at 11:20 a.m. in the East Paddock Gardens . . . Horsemen are invited to join an open Thoroughbred Owners of California forum and have questions answered by its directors next Saturday, June 27, 10:30 a.m. at the Pleasanton Satellite Wagering Facility. For further information visit email@example.com.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Thursday, June 18)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||109||14||12||12||13%||$615,848|
|Hector O. Palma||16||4||2||2||25%||$133,910|