- DORTMUND, BAYERN PUT BAFFERT ON CLOUD NINE
- BIG JOHN B, ABBEY VALE TOUGH IN LAST TYCOON
- FESTIVE KENTUCKY DERBY PARTY AT SANTA ANITA
- MANDELLA OPTIMISTIC FOR SUNDAY’S WILSHIRE
BAFFERT HAPPY WITH DRILLS BY DORTMUND, BAYERN
Bob Baffert was on Cloud Nine, literally and figuratively, Saturday morning after two of
his star runners, unbeaten Santa Anita Derby winner Dortmund, and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Bayern, worked at Santa Anita under regular rider Martin Garcia.
Dortmund, in his final major drill for next Saturday’s 141st Kentucky Derby, worked six furlongs in company with Lady Bull in 1:13.60. Lady Bull was clocked in 1:15.40.
Bayern and stablemate Cat Burglar worked six furlongs in company from the gate, each timed in a bullet 1:10.80.
“I’m really happy with how they went,” Baffert said en route via air to Kentucky where tomorrow he will supervise a five furlong workout at Churchill Downs by Derby favorite American Pharoah, who will have Garcia aboard.
“Dortmund just cruised around there. He’s pretty fit and doesn’t need much. He’ll gallop into the Derby.”
Bayern, who has not raced since winning the Classic at Santa Anita last Nov. 1, likely will make his 2015 debut in the Grade II, $400,000 Alysheba Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on May 1, although the son of Offlee Wild is also nominated to the Grade II, $500,000 Churchill Downs Stakes at seven furlongs on May 2. Crack sprinter Private Zone is likely to run in that race.
“He’ll probably run in the Alysheba,” Baffert said of Bayern.
Also at Santa Anita on an overcast Saturday morning, Sunland Derby winner Firing Line, twice beaten a head by Dortmund, worked five furlongs with Gary Stevens up in 1:02.20.
“I’m very happy,” said Simon Callaghan of Firing Line, a son of Line of David owned by Arnold Zetcher. “It was just to stretch his legs. He’ll get on the plane early tomorrow morning so we didn’t want to overdue it. He’s fit, looks good, everything seems ready.”
Callaghan plans to leave for Kentucky on Tuesday.
Reflecting on Firing Line’s two narrow defeats by Dortmund, in the Los Alamitos Futurity and the Robert B. Lewis Stakes, Callaghan said, “Our horse is doing very well; obviously, he’s run against very good company.
“Dortmund won the (Santa Anita) Derby extremely well and I think our horse has progressed since then, so I think we’re going to Kentucky with a very good shot.”
D’AMATO GOES FOR LAST TYCOON GOLD WITH DUO
Back in the glory days of Army football, the Black Knights of the Hudson had the
dynamic backfield duo of “Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside,” Felix (Doc) Blanchard and Glenn Davis.
Phil D’Amato hopes for an equine version some 75 years later when he sends out Big John B from the No. 1 post position and Abbey Vale from the outside eight hole in today’s Grade III, $100,000 Last Tycoon Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at 1 ¼ miles on turf.
Big John B, a 6-year-old gelded son of Hard Spun owned by Michael House, hasn’t raced since Nov. 1 when he finished ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, having made the most of his outside No. 12 post position in the mile-and-a-half race.
Abbey Vale, a 5-year-old Irish-bred son of Moss Vale owned by Andy Ellis, JR Riley Stables and Michael Sim, has won two of three starts in the U.S., each time coming from within shouting distance of the pacesetters.
“I don’t think they’re going to hinder each other at all with their styles,” D’Amato said. “Abbey Vale might have a little more speed than Big John B, but it’s time to get him started. He signaled in his last two drills he’s ready to go.
“Abbey Vale has always been highly thought of, so we’re going to give him a shot. He won pretty nicely the other day, so I think they’re both ready to go.”
KENTUCKY DERBY GALA AT SANTA ANITA SATURDAY
Fans can join the biggest Derby party west of Kentucky at Santa Anita next Saturday, May 2, a day filled with world-class racing, hat contests, mint juleps and live racing.
Festivities include an Infield Beer-fest with live music from Seedless and a party in the Premium Gallop Out in the Club House East. Purchase a Trackside Package for a prime seat and your first drink in a commemorative cup featuring Santa Anita Derby winner Dortmund, plus all the fun and excitement of racing’s best 3-year-olds in the 141st Kentucky Derby.
First post time next Saturday is 11:30 a.m. Gates open at 7:30 a.m. Tickets can be purchased at santaanita.com.
MANDELLA DOUBLES DOWN IN SUNDAY’S WILSHIRE
Richard Mandella expressed cautious optimism about Moulin de Mougin and Indecise when they run in Sunday’s Grade III, $100,000 Wilshire Stakes for fillies and mares, 3 and up, at one mile on turf.
Indecise was second in the restricted Wishing Well Stakes at about 6 ½ furlongs on the turf Feb. 8, while Moulin de Mougin was ninth breaking on the outside going a mile against males in the Thunder Road on April 4. It was her first start in seven months.
The Wishing Well was run Feb. l8, and was the first race for Indecise in almost a year.
“I haven’t seen the rest of the field so I don’t know how tough it is, but my two are pretty good in their own right,” Mandella said. “Moulin de Mougin has proven herself to be that good. The other mare is working her way up.”
Mike Smith rides Moulin de Mougin, while Mandella protégé Flavien Prat pilots Indecise.
“He was only 18 the first year he came to ride at Santa Anita, and he’s 22 now,” Mandella said of the up and coming Frenchman. “This is the fourth winter he’s spent with us, and each year, we hated to see him leave.
“Now his visa is good for five years so he’ll be with us for the duration. He’s great kid and a real star in the making. I can’t take too much credit for his success. Anybody would want to ride him.”
The Wilshire, the seventh race on an eight-race program: Moulin de Mougin, Mike Smith, 4-1; Thegirlinthatsong, Corey Nakatani, 8-1; $2,000 supplemental nomination Smoove It, Mario Gutierrez, 8-1; Blingismything, Tyler Baze, 9-2; Uzziel, Kent Desormeaux, 6-1; Sky Treasure, Joe Talamo, 6-1; Indecise, Flavien Prat, 9-2; and Birdlover, Rafael Bejarano, 5-2.
TOC CANDIDATES ANNOUNCED FOR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) Nominating Committee has announced a slate of six candidates for five open seats in the 2015 Board of Directors election, including incumbents Bob Baffert, Ed Moger, Mike Pegram and Kathy Walsh and new nominees Allen Aldrich and Gary Fenton.
Baffert, who has served on the TOC board since 2007, is an owner-trainer representative and member of the Racing Affairs Committee. Moger has served on the board since 2010 and also represents the owner-trainer category as well as Northern California members. He serves on the Executive and Racing Affairs committees. Pegram, who has been on the board since 2010, is board Chairman and serves “ex officio” on all TOC committees. Walsh was first elected in 2012 and serves as chair of the Racing Affairs Committee.
Aldrich, a resident of Northern California, has been a licensed owner since 1978 and averages more than 100 starts per year. He had an ownership interest in Eclipse Award winning champion She’s A Tiger.
Fenton is a managing partner of Little Red Feather Racing, which presently owns 16 horses in California. A Southern California resident, he has been an entertainment attorney for almost 20 years.Ballots, including full candidate statements, will be mailed to the TOC membership on May 15. The deadline for returned ballots is June 15.
FINISH LINES: Gulfstream Park today has a mandatory payout on its Pick 6 with a pool that likely will reach $5 million . . . Santa Anita’s $500,000 guaranteed Late Pick 4 begins in today’s sixth race, while the $150,000 guaranteed Pick 6 starts in race four . . . Fans can visit Xpressbet on YouTube for workout videos of 2015 Kentucky Derby contenders . . . Victor Espinoza has withdrawn his appeal of a three-day suspension issued March 7 and will serve his ban May 8, 9 and 10 . . . GOOD NEWS!! Scully, a 5-year-old Florida-bred gelding by Tale of the Cat, broke his maiden for an $8,000 claiming tag in today’s fourth race at Pimlico. Named for Dodger Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully, he paid $7.40, $4 and $3.20. A special thanks to Dodger Publicity wag Steve Brener for alerting Santa Anita Publicity after the race was made official.