- O’NEILL HOPES NO PLACE LIKE HOME FOR PAVEL
- TALAMO, DR. DORR PERFECT FOR RICH GOLD CUP
- MOPOTISM MAKES TURF DEBUT IN GRADE I GAMELY
- GALLAGHER IS COUNTING ON FRENCH CONNECTION
- EVIN ROMAN COULD RESUME RIDING AGAIN JUNE 7
PAVEL GOOD AS GOLD (CUP) AFTER DUBAI TRIP
Pavel makes his first start since March 31 in Saturday’s Grade I, $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita. The gray son of Creative Cause finished fourth in the Dubai World Cup that day and has not raced since, a span of seven weeks.
Not to worry, says Doug O’Neill assistant Leandro Mora.
“We’re very pleased with Pavel since he came back,” Mora said. “He’s running because he definitely feels like he’s comfortable being home again. Doug and Mr. Reddam (owner J. Paul Reddam) are very happy with how the horse is acting, so we expect him to run well.
“On paper, it looks like there will be plenty of pace for him, and we’ve got Mario (Gutierrez) back aboard and he’s winning left and right.”
Gutierrez, the owner’s primary rider ever since he won the 2012 Kentucky Derby on Reddam’s I’ll Have Another, is fourth in the Spring Meet standings through 23 days with 14 victories, two behind second place Geovanni Franco, who returns from a suspension today.
The field for the Gold Cup, race five of nine: Little Scotty, Asa Espinoza, 15-1; Accelerate, Victor Espinoza, 2-1; Prince of Arabia, Stewart Elliott, 12-1; City of Light, Drayden Van Dyke, 9-5; Dr. Dorr, Joe Talamo, 5-2; Pavel, Mario Gutierrez, 5-1; and Full of Luck, Flavien Prat, 15-1.
TALAMO GETS RIGHT RX FROM STREAKING DR. DORR
Joe Talamo enjoys riding Dr. Dorr, and who can blame him?
The 28-year-old jockey is three for three on the gelded son of Lookin At Lucky trained by Bob Baffert, including an impressive victory in the Grade II Californian last out on April 28. Next up: Saturday’s Grade I Gold Cup at Santa Anita.
“He’s a really nice horse and you can pretty much do what you want with him,” Talamo said of Dr. Dorr, owned by Baffert’s wife, Jill. Dr. Dorr’s first score with Talamo came on a wet/fast track at 6 ½ furlongs, followed by a front-running four-length romp in the Santana Mile and a 7 ¼-length triumph as the 1-2 favorite in the Californian.
“In the Santana Mile, he was in front all the way,” Talamo said. “Last time, I sat off the pace and he really took off down the lane.
“It’s fun to ride horses like that.”
O’NEILL OPTIMISTIC ABOUT MOPOTISM’S TURF DEBUT IN GAMELY
Mopotism makes her grass debut in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Gamely Stakes for fillies and mares, three and up, at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
In 17 career starts, the consistent four-year-old Uncle Mo filly has never toured the green, with a 3-5-3 record on dirt surfaces, but Doug O’Neill is looking at the glass as half full, especially with the defection of Chad Brown trainee Uni due to illness.
“She’s a daughter of Uncle Mo and they seem to run on anything,” O’Neill said of Mopotism, owned by principal client Reddam Racing. “She’s training well and we thought we’d try a Grade I in our own backyard.
“It was unfortunate news for her connections that the East Coast filly (Uni) will not run, but good news for us. It makes the race softer, so we’re excited and optimistic.”
The field for the Gamely, race eight: Madam Dancealot, Corey Nakatani, 7-2; Midnight Crossing, Brice Blanc, 10-1; Mopotism, Mario Gutierrez, 10-1; Sophie, Kent Desormeaux, 12-1; Beau Recall, Flavien Prat, 4-1; Hawksmoor, Julien Leparoux, 5-2; and Madame Stripes, Rafael Bejarano, 6-1. Uni was scratched.
GALLAGHER CALLS ON THE FRENCH CONNECTION
Paddy Gallagher, Irish to the core, hopes the French Connection pays dividends in Saturday’s Grade II Charles Whittingham Stakes for three-year-olds and up at a mile and a quarter on turf.
Gallagher sends out the French-bred Flamboyant in the marathon grass event, and will give a leg up to Brice Blanc, born in Lyon, France. Flamboyant won the San Francisco Mile last out under Frenchman Julien Couton.
“I think they understand one another,” Gallagher said, speaking of the success Couton and Blanc have enjoyed with the seven-year-old gelded son of Peer Gynt.
“I won a few races with him,” Blanc said of Flamboyant. “We went to Dubai together (fifth in the 2016 Dubai Turf), and I’ve been working him, although I didn’t ride him last out because I rode Editore (second by a neck to Flamboyant in the San Francisco Mile).
“The Whittingham distance should suit him. He loves a mile and a quarter (one win and three thirds in six starts), and he ran a great race going a mile last out.”
The Whittingham, which goes as race six: Flamboyant, Brice Blanc, 4-1; Frank Conversation, Mario Gutierrez, 8-1; What a View, Stewart Elliott, 6-1; Kenjisstorm, Flavien Prat, 8-1; Itsinthepost, Tyler Baze, 6-5; Ritzy A.P., Gary Stevens, 20-1; and Syntax, Geovanni Franco, 4-1.
Jerry Hollendorfer’s Full of Luck was scratched and will run in the Gold Cup.
FINISH LINES: Eclipse Award-winning apprentice rider of 2017 Evin Roman could resume riding on June 7 after recovering from a fracture to his left toe suffered on April 24. “He sees Dr. (James) Tibone on May 30 and should be cleared to ride,” said Roman’s agent, Tony Matos. “Hopefully, he’ll start working horses on June 1.” . . . Tyler Baze, injured in a riding mishap last Saturday, is recovering but will not ride through this weekend . . . Santa Anita offers Dollar Day this Monday, May 28, Memorial Day, with sodas and beers just a buck, and hot dogs going for $2 . . . XBTV V.P. Phil Kubel reports yesterday morning’s Santa Anita press conference featuring Bob Baffert and Mike Smith generated some “very impressive” numbers via social media. Streamed live on Facebook, it reached more than 48,000 people with 15,000 “views.” The presser was conducted from Clockers’ Corner and began shortly after 10 a.m.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Thursday, May 24)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||72||12||11||10||17%||46%||$568,418|