- BAZE, BEJARANO ON PRIME MOUNTS SANS SMITH
- EURTON: ‘HAVEN’T SEEN THE BEST OF MILKY WAY’
- LEWIS WINNER ROYAL MO WORKS FOR SHIRREFFS
- BAFFERT BREEZES TRIO SATURDAY AT SANTA ANITA
NEW PILOTS IN SANTA MARGARITA FOR FINEST CITY, VALE DORI
With regular rider of both Finest City and Vale Dori Mike Smith out of town next Saturday, each will have a new pilot in the Grade I, $400,000 Santa Margarita Stakes for fillies and mares, four and up, at a mile and an eighth on the main track.
Finest City, Eclipse Award winner as older female sprint champion of 2016, was ridden by Smith in her last two outings, victories in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita last Nov. 5, and the Grade II Santa Monica Stakes on Jan. 21.
Smith also has ridden Vale Dori to victories in her last three races, all Grade II events, the Bayakoa Handicap, the La Canada Stakes and the Santa Maria Stakes.
The 51-year-old Hall of Fame jockey rides Sham Stakes runner-up American Anthem for Bob Baffert next Saturday in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Ian Kruljac, trainer of Finest City, has engaged Tyler Baze for the Santa Margarita, while Baffert, trainer of the Argentine-bred mare Vale Dori, has called on Rafael Bejarano.
Santa Anita oddsmaker Jon White may have to beckon all his skills deciding on which mare to make favorite, but for sure, either Finest City or Vale Dori will be the betting choice.
With 16 wins from just 47 mounts, the selective Smith is winning at a remarkable 34 percent at the Winter Meet, but those mounts have earned $1,438,547. That’s why Smith has the deserving reputation as a “money rider.”
Also probable for the Santa Margarita are Autumn Flower, no rider; Lady Tapit, Mario Gutierrez; Wild At Heart, Flavien Prat, and possibly Show Stealer, Stewart Elliott.
‘HONEST’ SHEEZA MILKY WAY IN SUNDAY’S SANTA ANA
Sheeza Milky Way has been flirting with graded stakes status during her 12-race career and trainer Peter Eurton hopes the four-year-old Sidney’s Candy filly achieves that level in Sunday’s Grade II Santa Ana Stakes for older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
“She’s an honest filly, she’s doing very well and if she gets the trip, she’s going to give you everything she has,” Eurton said. “She might be a notch below (the top ones), but I think you haven’t seen the best of her yet.”
The Santa Ana: Pretty Girl, Victor Espinoza, 6-1; Do the Dance, Tyler Baze, 12-1; Goodyearforroses, Corey Nakatani, 5-2; Sheeza Milky Way, Jamie Theriot, 6-1; Sweet Charity, Flavien Prat, 4-1; Kenriya, Rafael Bejarano, 4-1; Evo Campo, Brice Blanc, 8-1; and Responsibleforlove, Norberto Arroyo Jr., 6-1.
WITH GORMLEY ‘HOME’ FOR SAN FELIPE, ROYAL MO WORKS FOR REBEL
With stablemate Gormley staying home at Santa Anita to run in today’s Grade II San Felipe Stakes, Robert B. Lewis Stakes winner Royal Mo worked six furlongs in company Saturday morning in 1:13.40 under regular rider Victor Espinoza for the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park next Saturday.
Workmate Guggenheim was clocked in 1:14 flat.
“I got him (Royal Mo) in 13 and change,” said John Shirreffs, who trains the son of Uncle Mo for Jerry and Ann Moss. “He looked very good. Victor was happy with him, so if he comes out of the work well, we’re on our way. He’ll ship on the 14th.”
FINISH LINES: Bob Baffert supervised workouts Saturday morning for Sham Stakes runner-up American Anthem, San Antonio Stakes winner Hoppertunity and Mor Spirit, winner of the Grade I Los Alamitos Futurity in 2015, each going six furlongs in a bullet 1:11.60. American Anthem had Martin Garcia up and worked with Mor Spirit. Hoppertunity, ticketed for the Dubai World Cup on March 25, went with workmate Dr. Dorr who got a five furlong clocking of 59.80 . . . Corey Nakatani rides It Tiz Well for Jerry Hollendorfer in today’s Grade III Honeybee Stakes at Oaklawn Park . . . Mike McCarthy reports Illuminant in good shape following her impressive comeback win in Friday’s Wishing Well Stakes. McCarthy has her ticketed for Keeneland’s Grade I Coolmore Jenny Wiley Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf April 15 . . . With his game victory aboard 6-1 shot Classic Ruler in today’s first race, it marked the fifth win for apprentice Evin Roman, who lost three pounds from his weight allowance and now rides as a seven-pound ‘bug.’ . . . On Saturday, March 18, Santa Anita offers the St. Paddy’s Day Pitch, with the person who tosses a ringer winning $1 million! It’s free to enter. Just get on track, fill out a contest entry card and you could be one of four entries selected to participate, or sign up online at santaanita.com/events before March 18, as one online entry also will be chosen . . . Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday. Turn your clocks forward one hour Saturday night.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Friday, March 10)|
|Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||95||19||10||9||20%||40%||$819,486|
|(Current Through Friday, March 10, 2017 Inclusive)|
|J. Keith Desormeaux||36||8||3||5||22%||44%||$479,505|