It wasn’t a case of musical horses Saturday morning when exercise rider Cisco Alvarado worked Santa Anita Derby winner Gormley, and the colt’s regular jockey, Victor Espinoza, accompanied the Kentucky Derby contender astride stablemate Ziconic.

John Shirreffs had a plan.

“Cisco has been working Gormley since before the Santa Anita Derby (on April 8), so we didn’t want to change anything,” the trainer said. “He’s been doing a great job so there was no need to change. Having Victor on the pace horse was very important, too, because he has a good sense of pace.

“Also, it gives Victor a good chance to look at Gormley when he gets alongside of him, so it worked out well. I did that quite a bit with Mike Smith when he rode Zenyatta. You need a rider who knows how to set up a nice pace.”

That said, Shirreffs was pleased with the drill.

At 7:45 a.m., Gormley, in his final major drill for next Saturday’s 143rd Run for the Roses, went seven furlongs in 1:26.20, while Ziconic went in 1:27.40. Later, Santa Anita Derby third-place finisher Royal Mo, currently one spot away in qualifying points of drawing into the Kentucky Derby field of 20, also breezed under Alvarado, with Espinoza on workmate Shazara.

Royal Mo went six furlongs Saturday in 1:13, while Shazara was clocked in 1:13.20.

“I thought the work was very good,” said Shirreffs of Gormley, like Royal Mo owned by Jerry and Ann Moss. “Both he and Royal Mo will ship early Monday for Kentucky and arrive Monday afternoon.

“Tuesday they’ll probably jog or do something, get out and stretch their legs somehow.”

Asked if he reaped any benefits from having won the Kentucky Derby with 50-1 outsider Giacomo in 2005, Shirreffs said, “You learn all the time. Every horse teaches you something.”

Fans at Santa Anita next Saturday can enjoy the biggest Derby party west of Kentucky and watch and wager on the Run for the Roses. Derby Day highlights include a Kentucky Derby Trackside event; a KROQ Super Games and Craft Beer Festival; a Chandelier Room Derby Party; a Kentucky Derby Hat Contest; the Bud Light Lounge; and a guaranteed Late Pick 4 pool of $500,000 and Pick 6 pool of $100,000.

The Derby Day Hat Contest presented by Southern California Life Magazine is free to enter and boasts three grand prizes including $1,000 cash and a year’s subscription to the publication for each winner. The three categories (Most Creative, Most Glamorous and Fascinators and Fedoras) will be judged by a panel of fashion industry experts just west of the winner’s circle at 2:30 p.m. Look for the rent tent to enter and please visit for more information.



Trainer Simon Callaghan hopes Hiking walks into the winner’s circle after the six-year-old mare runs in Sunday’s Grade III Santa Barbara Stakes for fillies and mares, three and up, at a mile and a half on turf.

The Kentucky-bred daughter of First Defence was edged for third after steadying early in an overnight race at 1 1/8 miles on turf March 26, her first start in more than eight months.

“I got that one race into her going a mile and an eighth, which was good,” Callaghan said of Hiking, in pursuit of her first stakes victory.

“She’s coming into this race in good form and I think this is her best distance.”

Bred by Juddmonte Farms and owned by Highland Investment Group and Wayne Bamford, Hiking has a 4-3-4 record from 21 starts with earnings of $111,610.

The field: Estrechada, Stewart Elliott, 7-2; Places des Vosges, Corey Nakatani, 3-1; Dressed to a T, Flavien Prat, 8-1; Hiking, Brice Blanc, 10-1; Responsibleforlove, Kent Desormeaux, 12-1; Betty Draper, Santiago Gonzalez, 20-1; Mrs. Norris, Victor Espinoza, 10-1; Evo Campo, Rafael Bejarano, 7-2; and Laseen, Mike Smith, 9-2.


FINISH LINES: Kilroe Mile winner Bal a Bali worked six furlongs Saturday in a bullet 1:12 flat for Richard Mandella, who has the seven-year-old Brazilian-bred set for the Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on Derby Day . . . Crack sprinter Masochistic, who runs in the Grade II, $500,000 Churchill Downs at seven furlongs, also on Derby Day, worked five furlongs from the gate in 59.80 for Ron Ellis . . . Santa Paula Stakes winner Union Strike, prepping for next Friday’s Grade II Eight Belles Stakes under the Twin Spires, worked four furlongs on Santa Anita’s training track in a bullet 47.60 for trainer Mick Ruis . . . Kimbear, sixth in the April 8 Santa Anita Derby at nine furlongs, worked five furlongs on the main track under Joe Talamo in 59.80 for trainer Eric Kruljac, who plans to shorten up in the Grade III Lazaro Barrera Stakes at seven furlongs May 13 . . . There were 184 recorded workouts at Santa Anita Saturday, 23 on the training track . . . Effective today, agent Vince DeGregory represents jockey Brayan Pena . . . Every Saturday and Sunday at Santa Anita, fans can enjoy Family Fun Zone, featuring an Infield full of activities. A special $40 online only discount package includes food for four, two racing programs, two unlimited jumper wristbands, two pony ride vouchers, two face painting vouchers and eight carnival game vouchers. The package can be purchased online at


(Current Through Friday, April 28)          
Jockey Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% ITM% Money Won  
Rafael Bejarano 32 9 4 7 28% 63% $384,455  
Joseph Talamo 38 6 5 4 16% 39% $211,701  
Martin Pedroza 21 6 3 2 29% 52% $178,855  
Flavien Prat 27 5 4 7 19% 59% $200,770  
Stewart Elliott 31 5 3 5 16% 42% $124,875  
Santiago Gonzalez 26 4 4 2 15% 38% $141,500  
Norberto Arroyo, Jr. 25 4 3 6 16% 52% $218,458  
Tiago Pereira 27 3 4 5 11% 44% $136,570  
Tyler Baze 20 3 3 5 15% 55% $123,110  
Kent Desormeaux 12 3 3 3 25% 75% $162,665  
Martin Garcia 19 3 0 3 16% 32% $235,915  
Trainer Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% ITM% Money Won  
Peter Miller 19 6 4 4 32% 74% $218,330  
Richard Baltas 17 6 2 2 35% 59% $236,230  
Bob Baffert 12 5 1 1 42% 58% $301,890  
Doug O’Neill 20 4 6 3 20% 65% $171,975  
Philip D’Amato 22 3 4 3 14% 45% $184,335  
Simon Callaghan 6 3 0 1 50% 67% $99,105  
10 Trainers tied with two wins each