- FOLLOW ME CREV, PROSPECT PARK EYE BIG CAP
- UNBEATEN SMOKEY IMAGE PREPS FOR SAN FELIPE
- PEREZ GAINS A TOP 10 RANKING AT SANTA ANITA
BIG CAP REMATCH LOOMS FOR ‘PARK’ AND ‘CREV’
Streaking Follow Me Crev and Prospect Park could meet again in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 12 after running one-two in Sunday’s third race, a $65,000 overnight event at 1 1/16 miles in which Follow Me Crev won by 2 ½ lengths under Flavien Prat for his fourth straight victory.
Prospect Park, the 4-5 favorite making his first start since last September, ran evenly in second throughout and could not hold off the late burst of Follow Me Crev, who closed from sixth and last at the half-mile pole to win.
“If he comes out of it really good, we’ll try the big race,” said Vladimir Cerin, who trains Follow Me Crev for long-time clients David and Holly Wilson. “He’s just a big horse who’s a late-developer. He’s huge.
“Flavien said he’s a really smart horse. He kind of picks his way through (the field).”
Aside from not winning, trainer Cliff Sise Jr. was not disappointed in Prospect Park’s effort in his first race after a lengthy absence.
“He came out of the race good but he got tired,” Sise said. “Yesterday’s race sets him up perfect for the Big Cap.”
SMOKEY IMAGE WORKS TOWARDS SAN FELIPE
Undefeated California Derby winner Smokey Image worked four furlongs Monday morning in 47.20 under Victor Espinoza for Carla Gaines, who is preparing the son of 2004 Santa Anita Handicap winner Southern Image for a possible start against open company in the Grade II, $400,000 San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on March 12.
In his first start for Gaines, Smokey Image smoked six rivals in the California Cup Derby on Jan. 30 by 8 ½ lengths, leading virtually throughout the 1 1/16-mile race against state-breds.
The chestnut colt had previously been conditioned for Irvin Racing Stable by Bay Area-based trainer Greg James.
“Very nice” is how Gaines termed the workout for Smokey Image, who was going two turns for the first time in the Cal Derby.
Gaines said a future race for Arcadia Stakes winner Bolo was not firm, although the Grade I, $400,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile on turf and the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap at 1 ¼ miles on dirt have been mentioned as possibilities.
Both races are March 12.
JOCKEY PEREZ A RISING STAR IN CALIFORNIA
Good luck and hard work are a successful combination.
Just ask jockey Fernando Perez and his agent, Tommy Ball.
The 29-year-old rider overcame serious injuries to capture the combined title at Los Alamitos last year when he won 105 races in 2015, and has managed to crack the top 10 at Santa Anita, one of the most competitive colonies in North America.
“Fernando communicates well and we get along well,” said Ball, who has represented Perez since October 2014 and has been an agent since 1997. “Fernando is the hardest worker. He’s here early in the mornings. He’s a blue collar guy trying to get to the next level.”
Through 31 racing days, Perez had 10 victories, his most important coming in the Grade II Santa Monica Stakes on Jan. 23 when he piloted $131.20 winner Lost Bus to a stirring nose triumph for trainer Gary Sherlock.
“He’s a natural rider,” Sherlock said, “improving all the time.”
Added Barry Abrams, who also has had success riding Perez:
“He’s a very good rider. He’s learning about riding on the grass, because every track he’s ridden at before didn’t have a turf course, so he was years behind.
“But he’s learning quickly. In a year or so he’ll be one of the leading riders in California.”
FINISH LINES: Santa Anita will be dark Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Racing will resume Friday, Feb. 19, at 1 p.m. . . . Agent J.R. Pegram said David Lopez will resume riding Friday after missing three days recovering from soreness suffered in a riding mishap in last Friday’s eighth race . . . Alonso Quinonez, who had ridden Follow Me Crev to three straight victories, missed Sunday’s winning ride on the four-year-old gelding when he was late getting back from the Middle East where he had ridden for Prince Faisal in Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia. “The trip took about 18 hours,” Quinonez said. “It was six hours from Riyadh to Frankfurt, Germany, and about 12 or 13 from Frankfurt to LA. But I was pretty comfortable flying first class, where I could convert my seat into a bed.” . . . Keith Desormeaux said 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red will continue working towards his return, “and if everything goes right, we might see him at the early part of Santa Anita’s next meet that starts May 5.” . . . Trainer Simon Callaghan reports Kentucky Derby runner-up Firing Line is jogging, and La Canada winner Taris remains on course for the Grade I Santa Margarita Stakes on March 19, although “she did have a little fever last week. I expect her to breeze in the next two or three days.” . . . Ziconic, second son of champion mare Zenyatta, is scheduled to make his debut in a maiden special weight race this Saturday, Feb. 20. The colt worked four furlongs Saturday under Zenyatta’s regular rider Mike Smith in 49.60 for John Shirreffs . . . Smith has been suspended three days (Feb. 20, 21 and 25) for careless riding aboard Crimson and Gold in Saturday’s fifth race . . . Los Angeles native and renowned artist Gayle Garner Roski will display her “Masters of the American West” paintings at The Autry Museum of the American West this Thursday, Feb. 18, with a reception starting at 6 p.m. For further information, RSVP to Melissa Foster at 323 495-4271 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org . . . Jerry Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward will be at the Fair Grounds Saturday to saddle Point Piper in the Grade III, $125,000 Mineshaft Stakes at 1 1/16 miles. Julien Leparoux has the mount.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Sunday, Feb. 14)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||83||8||8||12||10%||34%||$516,939|
|J. Keith Desormeaux||28||5||3||7||18%||54%||$166,004|