- CLASSY DORTMUND GOES GREEN IN KILROE MILE
- FOUR-TIME ECLIPSE CHAMP CASTELLANO HERE ON SATURDAY
- VINTAGE 1940 STARTING GATE ON DISPLAY IN PADDOCK GARDENS
- TWO-TIME BIG ‘CAP WINNER JOHN HENRY BORN ON THIS DAY IN 1975
- SHIRREFFS ‘STAYS HOME’ WITH GORMLEY IN SAN FELIPE
GRASS IS GREENER FOR DORTMUND IN GRADE I KILROE MILE
Saturday’s Grade I, Frank E. Kilroe Mile on grass will mark at least two firsts: The first time Dortmund runs on turf and the first time the 5-year-old son of 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown runs in a stakes for owner Kaleem Shah under his new trainer Art Sherman.
Dortmund, a winner of five of seven starts on Santa Anita’s main track, including the Grade I Santa Anita Derby in 2015, has not raced since finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile here on Nov. 4, but even though the Kilroe attracted six graded stakes winners on turf, Sherman opted to go there rather than run seven furlongs on dirt in the Grade I Triple Bend Stakes, for which Dortmund was also nominated.
Overall, Dortmund has eight wins from 14 career starts, with earnings just under $2 million.
“He left Los Alamitos on Wednesday for Santa Anita, where he’ll school for a couple days,” Sherman said. “If you really think about it, seven eighths is probably one of the toughest distances on a horse. You’ve got to run every inch of the way.
“It’s just a hard, hard race to recover from, and Dortmund has some grass breeding and it’s an opportune time to try him on the grass. You don’t have to win, but if he runs a good race, it gives me another option.”
Sherman, who along with Doug O’Neill, picked up several horses that had been previously trained by Bob Baffert for Shah in December, allowed that he likes the position he’s in.
“I run a horse for Kaleem for the first time Friday (Besides the Point, in the seventh race), but the Kilroe will be the first time I’ve run in a stakes for him. I also have Klimt (a winner of the Grade I Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 5), but he won’t be ready until Del Mar this summer.
“Kaleem is very nice. I don’t know what happened (between him and Baffert). I don’t get into any of that. I was just happy to get the horses.”
As for two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome, now at stud in Kentucky, Sherman says the California-bred son of the late Lucky Pulpit is enjoying life.
“He’s really strong right now. He’s being bred to 130 mares, so he better be strong!”
OPPORTUNITY BRINGS ECLIPSE CHAMP CASTELLANO TO SANTA ANITA
With regular rider Gary Stevens, idle since undergoing right hip replacement surgery on Dec. 21, returning to action in today’s fourth race, trainer Peter Eurton opted to book four-time Eclipse Champion Jockey Javier Castellano to ride his late running grey, Kobe’s Back, in Saturday’s Grade I, Triple Bend Stakes at seven furlongs. Kobe’s Back, a multiple graded stakes winning 6-year-old by Flatter, has been idle since running third in last year’s Triple Bend on June 25 and had been ridden in 11 consecutive starts, dating back to March, 2015, by Hall of Famer Stevens.
“Saturday is a big day of racing at Santa Anita and the Triple Bend has a $400,000 purse,” said Eurton. “I know Mike (Lakow, agent for Castellano and former Santa Anita Assistant Racing Secretary). There’s not much else on the East Coast this Saturday except maybe at Tampa Bay Downs, so I thought Javier might want to ride here that day.”
And ride he will. In addition to Kobe’s Back, Castellano is named to ride Bal a Bali for Richard Mandella in the Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Stakes and Shaman Ghost, for Jimmy Jerkens, in the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap.
1940 BIG ‘CAP STARTING GATE IN PADDOCK GARDENS
Santa Anita’s first-ever electronic starting gate, which housed the legendary Seabiscuit prior to his career-capping victory in the 1940 Santa Anita Handicap, has been completely refurbished and will be on display for fans to admire in the track’s East Paddock Gardens this Saturday, Santa Anita Handicap Day, at Santa Anita.
De-commissioned for decades, the 15 ton gate had been relegated to Santa Anita’s own “battleship row,” according to assistant starter John Lopez, who headed the renovation project.
“I had been looking at that gate since I was a little kid and I just decided this was something that needed to be done,” said Lopez, 59, who began working as an assistant starter in 1977. “It was just wasting away and I said, ‘You know what, I can do this.’ It’s like putting a model airplane or car back together.”
With Lopez heading the project that began this past May, he was assisted by Santa Anita’s Carpenter and Paint Shops, as well as the track’s Director of Graphics, Candice Coder Chew.
“The carpenters built the sign, the painters stripped everything down and brought it back to life and Candi was able to provide the numbers on top of the gate,” said Lopez. “I just put everything back together…It’s nice to see the ‘Old Lady’ come back to life again.”
The vintage starting gate, which was originally assembled on-site prior to the 1939/40 meeting, provides a link to a legendary past that can be revisited by all on Santa Anita Handicap Day, this Saturday, at The Great Race Place.
First post time on Big ‘Cap Day, this Saturday, is at 12 noon. Admission gates open at 10 a.m.
BIG ‘CAP TRIVIA: Two-time Horse of the Year John Henry, who was trained by Hall of Famer Ron McAnally, won the 1981 Big ‘Cap under 128 pounds and Laffit Pincay, Jr. The following year, he took the race via disqualification under Bill Shoemaker and 130 pounds, thus becoming the first two-time winner of the Big ‘Cap. Regarded as one of the greatest geldings of all time, John Henry, a son of Ole Bob Bowers, was foaled on this date in 1975.
FINISH LINES: California-bred Masochistic, idle since running second in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Sprint here on Nov. 5, drew post position five with Mike Smith in a field of seven for Saturday’s Grade I Triple Bend Stakes and appears to be the speed of the race. “It looks good and he should be fit enough,” said trainer Ron Ellis…A winner of the 2015 Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile, Ring Weekend, trained by Graham Motion, drew post five in a field of seven for Saturday’s Kilroe and will be ridden for the second time in a row by Rafael Bejarano. “He caught a sloppy track in the San Gabriel (Grade III, 1 1/8 miles, two starts back on Jan. 7) and he had a slow start in the Arcadia (Grade II, one mile turf on Feb. 11),” said Aimee Dollase, assistant to Motion. “Rafael kind of waited late to ask him in the Arcadia, but the horse is training good. Hopefully, he knows him better this time, we’ll get a good trip and get lucky.”…Trainer John Shirreffs, a recently announced finalist for the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame ballot, has opted to “stay home” and run in Saturday’s Grade II San Felipe Stakes with his prized Derby hopeful, Gormley. “The big thing was how well Gormley worked here when he went (six furlongs) in 1:11 and change (best of 14 at the distance on Feb. 27),” said Shirreffs…Trained by Phil D’Amato, speedy Midnight Storm, who drew the rail in Saturday’s Grade I Santa Anita Handicap with Rafael Bejarano, would appear to have limited options in terms of early strategy. “We’ve got the rail and we hope he gets out of there good,” said D’Amato. “I think Rafael’s going to try and control the race and we’ll see what happens.”…Jockey Edwin Maldonado reports agent Joe Griffin is “doing good” after undergoing open heart surgery at Arcadia Methodist Hospital on Monday. “He’ll probably be up and walking tomorrow,” Maldonado said.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Sunday, March 5, 2017 Inclusive)|
|Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||90||18||8||9||20%||39%||$790,821|
|(Current Through Sunday, March 5, 2017 Inclusive)|
|Doug F. O’Neill||118||15||24||19||13%||49%||$1,173,586|
|John W. Sadler||47||8||10||10||17%||60%||$503,869|
|J. Keith Desormeaux||35||7||3||5||20%||43%||$447,105|