- MOR SPIRIT BREEZES FOR LEWIS STAKES ON FEB. 6
- TRAINERS AT THE READY FOR CLOCKERS’ CORNER
- TWO-DAY PICK SIX CARRYOVER STANDS AT $307,069
MOR SPIRIT IN ‘STIFF’ WORK FOR THREE-YEAR-OLD DEBUT
Under a 360-degree cloud cover that obliterated old Sol, leading Triple Crown contender Mor Spirit worked six furlongs on Santa Anita’s fast main track Saturday morning in a relatively pedestrian 1:13.60 in preparation for his three-year-old debut in the Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on Feb. 6.
Trainer Bob Baffert had the Kentucky-bred colt by Eskendereya galloping out seven furlongs in 1:29 flat.
Regular rider Gary Stevens was aboard Mor Spirit, who worked in company with Mt Veeder, who was also timed in 1:13.60.
“It was a good stiff work for him,” Baffert said of Mor Spirit, who last raced on Dec. 19 when he won the Grade I Los Alamitos Futurity by a length and a quarter. “The track is very demanding in the mornings.
“It’s on to the Lewis. He’s on schedule.”
Exaggerator worked seven furlongs in 1:25.80 for trainer Keith Desormeaux with brother Kent in the irons as the Delta Jackpot winner readies for his three-year-old debut in the Grade II San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs on Feb. 15.
OCHO OCHO OCHO MAKES DOWNHILL DEBUT SUNDAY
Ocho Ocho Ocho makes his first start on Santa Anita’s unique downhill turf course Sunday when he runs in the $75,000 Clockers’ Corner Stakes for older horses at about 6 ½ furlongs.
“It’s actually the second time he’s been entered to run down the hill,” pointed out Jim Cassidy, who trains the four-year-old colt for owner Deron Pearson, campaigning as DP Racing. “The last time was in the Juvenile Turf Sprint on Breeders’ Cup day in 2014, but the race was taken off the grass.”
That didn’t stop the son of Street Sense from winning by nearly six lengths. His last two races have come at one mile on turf, including the Mathis Brothers Mile on Dec. 26, in which he finished ninth after a wide trip. It was his first start in seven months.
The Clockers’ Corner marks the first time in his last six races that Ocho Ocho Ocho has not run in a graded stakes. His last win came in the Grade III Delta Jackpot on Nov. 22, 2014, when he held on by a nose under Mike Smith, who rides veteran Silentio in the Clockers’ corner.
In other Clockers’ Corner news:
Leading trainer Phil D’Amato has two horses scheduled to go in the Clockers’ Corner.
One is Cape Wolfe, a four-year-old English-bred gelding who makes his U.S. debut, and Coastline, who was second by a neck in his first start down the hill, in the Grade III Daytona on Dec. 30.
“Cape Wolfe is a nice horse and is in the race to kind of get started,” D’Amato said of the bay son of Piccolo who has not raced since last July, when he won his third straight race in Ireland. “He’ll be coming late. We’ll see if 6 ½ is too short or not for him, but I think down the road he’s going to be best going a mile.”
Home Run Kitten makes his first start in eight months when he runs in the Clockers’ Corner.
“He might need this race, but with the weather being what it’s been lately, we decided we’d better get a race into him and not worry too much about working,” said trainer David Hofmans of the son of the prolific turf sire Kitten’s Joy.
“Our long-range goal would be the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint here in November. We’re working towards that.”
In the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita, Home Run Kitten finished 11th but was beaten only four lengths in a field of 14.
The Clockers’ Corner: Rocket Heat, Edwin Maldonado, 7-2; Holy Lute, Victor Espinoza, 6-1; Cape Wolfe, Flavien Prat, 10-1; County Lineman, Alonso Quinonez, 8-1; Fleet Eagle, Tiago Pereira, 30-1; Silentio, Mike Smith, 8-1; Coastline, Tyler Baze, 4-1; Home Run Kitten, Joe Talamo, 4-1; Ocho Ocho Ocho, Santiago Gonzalez, 8-1; and Bench Warrant, Drayden Van Dyke, 12-1.
STAKES WINNER GERVINHO STANDS AT LEGACY RANCH
Grade II winner Gervinho has relocated for his second season as a stallion to Legacy Ranch in Clements, CA. A stakes winner at two and three, and a California champion at three, he won Santa Anita’s Grade II Sir Beaufort Stakes and Del Mar’s $100,000 Oceanside Stakes.
Gervinho earned over $420,000 and was on the board in eight of nine career starts, including the Grade I Hollywood Derby, the Grade II Del Mar Derby and Santa Anita’s Grade III Twilight Derby.
A six-year-old son of Unusual Heat out of Foreverinthegame, by Out of Place, who raced primarily on turf, Gervinho possess solid credentials for multiple surfaces.
“One of the best horses I have ever trained, Gervinho had an amazing turn of foot and an incredible mind,” said trainer Carla Gaines. “It’s very disappointing we never had the chance to try him on the dirt as he trained brilliantly on it.”
“Gervinho is absolutely gorgeous physically and has so much to offer California breeders,” said Gayle Van Leer, manager of the stallion who stands in 2016 for $3,500 live foal with consideration to approved mares. For more information visit www.legacyranchinc.com
FINISH LINES: The lead news item today at the Great Race Place: A massive two-day Pick Six carryover of $307,069. It’s expected today’s total Pick Six pool should approach $2 million.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Friday, Jan. 22)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||42||5||5||5||12%||36%||$304,964|
|J. Keith Desormeaux||19||4||0||6||21%||53%||$100,920|
|J. Eric Kruljac||15||3||1||2||20%||40%||$50,150|